Indian audiences will be able watch the country’s representatives in action at the ongoing Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
However, instead of catching the action live, viewers will have to be content with watching the highlights of the day’s events. The highlights will be shown on Sony’s SIX and ESPN, in two sessions of one hour each daily.
A release stated, “It will be completely non-live and coverage will comprise of daily one hour highlights. There will be two separate highlight episodes – Day session and Night session highlights scheduled on different times on SIX and SONY ESPN respectively,”.
Incidentally, India have sent their as many as 19 athletes to the Paralympics. The contingent includes Athens gold medallist Devendra Jhajharia. But no broadcaster, including the national network Doordarshan, had shown any interest in buying the rights to the Paralympics.
The issue was taken up by a Kolkata-based NGO and disability rights activist Suchandra Ganguly along with the official chaplain of Rio Olympics and Paralympics Zenji Nio in two media conferences earlier this week.
“Paralympics have never been telecast. But this year was a very crucial year. The cost of rights didn’t rise nearly as much from London to Rio as it did from Beijing to London so even modest revenue growth should drive margins. Also, there are benefits of Rio time zone.
“So we don’t understand why it cannot be broadcast. We saw a tweet from the Prime Minister wishing luck the para athletes participating in the Games. But how can we cheer for them till we can see them,” Suchandra said.
Nio, who is a person of Indian-origin, will be at the Games Village. He said he was ready to provide coverage.
“This is nothing but discrimination. We are not here to find castigate anyone but to have a course correction before Tokyo 2020. I will spoon feed you with all details. They deserve to be supported and not sympathised.”