Pak court bars state TV from deal with Zee
A Pakistani court on Friday barred the state-run broadcaster from concluding a deal with Ten Sports, regarding sub-licensing of the broadcast rights for ICC cricket during 2012-15, following insinuations that the sports channel is owned by an Indian entity.
The Lahore high court said Pakistan Television Corporation could not conclude its deal with Ten Sports subject to the condition that the privately owned Independent Music Group, which operates the Geo Super sports channel, deposits two million US dollars
The court issued notice to PTV and the federal government to file their responses by December 2.
Justice Umar Ata Bandial passed the order in response to a petition filed by Independent Music Group, which challenged PTV’s move to enter into an agreement with Ten Sports.
Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel told the court that the ICC had granted rights to broadcast cricket events to ESPN sports channel.
ESPN further granted rights to various entities from different countries for four years.
The counsel said Independent Music Group had acquired broadcast rights for Pakistan on cable and satellite from ESPN (Mauritius).
The counsel said after expiry of these rights, ESPN invited bids to broadcast ICC cricket events in Pakistan for four years, including the ICC World Cup 2015.
PTV approached ESPN with the highest bid of US $30 million for both cable and satellite rights.
The counsel contended that PTV had entered into a back-to-back arrangement with Ten Sports, a channel owned and controlled by India’s Zee Network, to exclusively acquire broadcast rights and PTV would sub-licence the rights to its joint venture partner.
The counsel said the Independent Music Group wrote a letter to PTV on October 27 and offered a joint venture on terms that were being offered to the Indian channel.
PTV rejected the offer without giving any cogent reason, the counsel contended.
He alleged that PTV had signed a memorandum of understanding with Ten Sports without observing “cordial formalities and inviting public offers”, which are mandatory for a state-run organisation.
The counsel contended that PTV, being a public organisation, was duty bound to act in accordance with the constitution and law.