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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

NBC resolves Multimesh, HiTV dispute

THE National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has resolved the dispute between Multimesh Communications Limited and Entertainment Highway, owners of HiTV, over rights to broadcast English Premier League (EPL) signals in the South East and South South.

Chief executive officer, Multimesh, Sir Godfrey Ohuabunwa and his counterpart at HiTV, Mr. Toyin Subair confirmed this to ITRealms Online, last weekend.

ITRealms Online recalls that a fortnight ago, precisely on Thursday, January 8, 2009, officials of Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC) raided Multimesh’s office in Calabar, carting away equipment in the name of broadcasting pirated EPL as purportedly reported by HiTV.

Barely a week letter, the management of NBC invited the two organization as part of dispute resolution and brokered peace, just as Multimesh accused NCC of maliciously vandalizing its station in Calabar for reasons best known to them.

In a meeting at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, last week Wednesday, NBC officials led by its Director General, Mr. Yomi Bolarinwa.

According to Ohuabunwa, NBC was able to intervene in the dispute very skillfully with an agreement from the feuding parties, even as it was agreed that an agreement had indeed existed between the two organisations since 2007, thus giving credence to the claims by Multimesh that what occurred was a business dispute and not a piracy case.

Equally Mr. Subair told ITRealms Online that Multimesh has agreed to make payment based on the states’ coverage earlier in conflict.

Additionally, ITRealms Online gathered that the resolution signed at the NBC office included that in “Pursuant to Section 2 (1) (Q) of the National Broadcasting Commission Act No. 38 of 1992 (as amended), the National Broadcasting met with the representatives of Entertainment Highway Ltd and Multimesh Communications Ltd to resolve the dispute on Channel Carriage License Agreement for the Broadcast of the English Premier League Matches.”

After the deliberations, it was also resolved that the Channel Carriage Agreement signed in 2007 between the parties still subsists; that Multimesh Communications Limited has agreed to pay for Calabar, Port Harcourt and Yenogoa where the Premiership matches are being broadcast.

Equally, Multimesh was directed to send a three (3) months upfront payment in advance and another three on post dated cheques covering the season which ends in May 2009 to Entertainment Highway Limited.

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