The role of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman RS Sharma has come under the scanner as he has turned a blind eye to Tata Sky unilaterally blacking out many channels from Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and India Today Group, after the DTH operator expected consumers to bear with them.
The move has left millions of consumers in lurch who had bought long-term subscription packages that included the channels that has been turned off by Tata Sky.
When asked how could TRAI, whose mandate is to protect the consumer’s interest, let the DTH player act arbitrarily and make consumers suffer, Sharma’s reaction was that the TRAI Chairman could not be asked for his views and told BestMediaInfo.com, “Go to hell. You write what you want to.”
Sharma’s unexplainable statement leads the consumers to believe that TRAI is least bothered to protect their interests.
Several consumer bodies are already planning to move The Competition Commission of India against the ‘malpractices’ undertaken by the DTH player, a leading player in several markets across India.
A legal expert told BestMediaInfo.com that TRAI is equally guilty as it cannot turn a blind eye when lakhs of consumers are suffering.
According to the broadcast industry experts, the TRAI guidelines say that the DTH operator has to run a 15-day scroll/ticker notification and give a three-week notice to consumers.
Responding to the allegation, the Tata Sky spokesperson told BestMediaInfo.com that the operator had released an ad on September 15, informing subscribers about the dropping of these channels in 15 days, should they fail to come to an agreement with the broadcaster.
But it is alleged that the operator flouted the TRAI’s guidelines of running the scroll on the screen.
The industry expert said the broadcasters weren't complaining to TRAI on their own because they are too scared of a leading DTH operator acting vindictive. Hence, they're having back-channel negotiations.
Yesterday, the Tata Sky spokesperson commented, “We hope to be able to positively close negotiations and get all our subscribers their desired channels as soon as possible. Tata Sky is committed and working in the interest of its subscribers and we request them to bear with us while we do so.”