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Doordarshan: Separation of admin & editorial powers; I&B Minister calls for functional changes

By IndianMandarins- 26 Jul 2019


New Delhi: In an attempt to overhaul and make public broadcaster more responsive and professional, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday announced that functioning of every DD TV Channel will be separated as every channel has a definite and unique character.

The public broadcaster has quite often been questioned for not being ‘competitive enough’ by the present TV industry standards. The Modi Govt has now proposed a bold reform to enable Prasar Bharati to compete with the private media in a professional manner. I&B Minister has proposed a clear separation of powers whereby the administrative responsibilities shall remain with the officers but professionals must run the editorial and creative wings. This would ensure professionalism and clarity in the long and short term.

Sources said that despite some teething troubles, this model has been successfully implemented in Rajya Sabha television and has been functioning smoothly with good results. With Doordarshan being a much wider platform results would certainly be better.

Officials in the government machinery who are well aware of the development said that the proposal would be placed for clearance before the Prasar Bharati Board of which Doordarshan is the broadcast arm besides many other operations.

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempanti is of the view on the issue that, “To bring in professionalism into the content operations of Doordarshan and to ensure public service broadcasting is engaging and strikes a chord with the youth, it is essential to separate the content and creative functions from the administrative functions. This issue was deliberated by the Prasar Bharati Board in the past and is also part of the scope of the ongoing manpower audit.”

In fat the government has been of the view from long that news must be handled by people well equipped it instead by people otherwise. There was a dip reported in the viewership of the government broadcasting channel -- Doordarshan, which has separate channels for news and entertainment. This seems to be the reason behind this decision. The move mooted by the government to separate functions comes at a time when the public broadcaster has engaged Ernst and Young to conduct a manpower audit to right-size both Doordarshan and All India Radio.

Sources said that this separation of roles is different from previous attempts since the roles are now defined and structured in such a way that it will pave the way for the future composition of DD and AIR. DG Doordarshan is on extension and DG AIR is due to retire soon, so this is a good time to usher in the path breaking reforms, sources added. 

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