The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Channel staff abuse unites broadcasters

All major broadcasters have joined hands to demand an apology from multi-system operator (MSO) Manthan Broadband Services for “threatening, abusing and heckling” the staff of SET-Discovery on Monday.

In a gathering of last-mile operators, MSOs and broadcasters on Tuesday, representatives of STAR, Zee-Turner, ESPN-STAR Sports, Modi Entertainment Network and SET-Discovery spoke in one voice, asking for a written apology from Manthan directors when they meet again over the issue on August 1.

A group of around 200 people had gheraoed the SET-Discovery Calcutta office on Garcha Road on Monday afternoon, shortly after the entire Sony package was switched off for “defaulting on dues”. Manthan’s outstandings to SET-Discovery till July this year add up to Rs 25 lakh, according to an official of the broadcaster.

The official claimed the channels were blacked out after repeated requests to Manthan to clear dues had fallen on deaf ears and after a cheque for Rs 9.78 lakh from the MSO had bounced last week.

The Sony beam was back in the evening after Gariahat police directed the broadcaster to switch on the channels with a 72-hour notice to the MSO to pay up.

It seems but a temporary reprieve for Manthan. “We have a legal contract with them and if they fail to honour that, we will take necessary action,” SET-Discovery president Shantonu Aditya told Metro.

The Cable Operators’ Sangram Committee has also condemned the incident as “deplorable”. Forum spokesperson Tarak Saha said: “Under no circumstances should any company be allowed to run a business with outstandings.”

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