MIB nod to renaming of DSport to Eurosport challenged by Lex Sportel Vision

MIB Dish

Lex Sportel Vision last week moved the Delhi High Court challenging the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB)’s decision to permit Discovery Communications India to change the name of ‘DSport’ to ‘Eurosport’. The battle is in the second round with Lex Sportel challenging whether the Delhi High Court’s order in W.P.(C) 13537/2019 vide order dated 24th February, 2020 was complied by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or not.

MIB Dish

Delhi High Court had back in February noted that the Ministry should take a call on the renaming requests from Discovery within 8 weeks keeping in mind the factual situation. The court had noted that the UOI should consider the application in line with the policy guidelines for the uplinking/downlinking of television channels.

The court had further noted that if Discovery relied on the letter dated 17th January 2017 which approved the uplinking of the DSport channel from Hong Kong, as part of the name change application then Lex Sportel Vision’s submissions would be considered with an opportunity to explain their stand.

According to the court order, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) submitted that it didn’t give any hearing to Lex Sportel Vision as Discovery Communications India (DCI) didn’t rely on the letter dated 17th January 2017. The Ministry is said to have approved the permissions on the basis of letters dated 3rd August 2018 and 17th August 2018 which did not have any reference to the letter dated 17th August 2017. MIB stated that in view of the matter there was no need to give a hearing to Lex Sportel Vision.

Lex Sportel Vision in its submission said that the two letters relied upon by the Ministry are in relation to and in continuation of the Office of Communications Authority permission dated 17th January 2017 which can’t be read in isolation at all. It placed reliance on the reference number of the letters dated 17th January 2017 and 17th August 2018 to support the submission. It further stated that the letter dated 3rd August 2018 cannot be construed as downlinking permission.

Discovery in its submission stated that Lex Sportel Vision was just a service provider who didn’t enjoy any rights in either ‘DSport’ or ‘Eurosport’ marks. It further stated that it was making payments to APSTAR for uplinking and availing of the satellite transponder charges and not Lex Sportel Vision.

Lex Sportel Vision opposed the claim that it had not paid to APSTAR. The court directed the Ministry to place the original file and directed Lex Sportel Vision to produce any proof of payment or any agreement with APSTAR on record.

The court will now primarily look into the compliance of the order dated 24th February 2020, and also to examine whether the permission granted is in terms of the uplinking or downlinking guidelines.

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