Cable TV service provider Medianet is suing the Maldives Broadcasting Commission (MBC) after the commission ordered the company to halt airing FIFA World Cup matches on any channels except state broadcaster Television Maldives and private broadcaster Villa TV (VTV).
Medianet has been airing matches on channels Sony Six, Sony Six HD and Sony Pix under rebroadcasting agreements. But the MBC said only TVM and VTV are authorized to broadcast World Cup matches.
In a letter to the MBC, Medianet’s legal representatives claimed the MBC’s order is unlawful and said a proper investigation must be conducted.
MBC had said Medianet’s agreement with Sony MSM had not been made in accordance with the Maldives rebroadcasting regulations.
MBC also stated that Medianet had charged an extra fee from customers in early June for viewing the matches on channels 100 and 100 plus against the rebroadcasting regulations.
Medianet has accused MBC of prejudice against the company and said it will sue the company and every individual member for damages caused by the commission’s order.
The company filed a case at the Civil Court on Wednesday seeking annulment of the Medianet’s order. According to local media, the judge presiding over the case estimated hearings will be completed by Sunday.
Medianet further stated that the MBC order released wrongful allegations to the public and said the commission’s sudden order issued to halt broadcasting of matches on channels other than TVM and VTV could be interpreted as an attempt to benefit certain parties.
MBC has also responded to the letter sent by Medianet’s legal representative, dismissing the claims that their orders are unlawful. They, in turn, have ordered Medianet to follow their orders without setting further conditions
MBC also stated that Medianet had charged an extra fee from customers for viewing the matches on channels 100 and 100 plus against the rebroadcasting regulations.
It also stated that the commission has received complaints that Medianet had refused to cooperate with repeated requests from TVM and VTV to broadcast their matches in high definition. It advised the company to provide such services to all channels without discrimination.
MBC has further announced on Wednesday that it is opening an opportunity for other interested parties to apply for cable TV provision licenses. Currently the only company providing the service is Medianet.
The commission claimed that it is taking this step to increase competition in the field, which will in turn lead to the provision of better services at more competitive prices to the public.