Tuesday, 17 June 2014

I&B minister Javadekar to work on establishing the primacy of DD and AIR

MUMBAI: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar was on his first visit to the Doordarshan studio in Worli, Mumbai. And high on his agenda, as he says, is to establish the primacy of Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR). Accompanied by Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar and Mumbai Doordarshan director Mukesh Sharma, the new minister visited the studios, and met with the staff—producers as well as technicians—and told them his goal. “I want to see DD and AIR become the first choice of the viewers and listeners. They should be able to compete with the private TV channels and FM radio stations and win the hearts of Indians,” he said. Javadekar will depend on public feedbacks to revive the popularity of DD and AIR. On the I&B ministry website, he will soon start a ‘Minister’s corner’, inviting suggestions from anyone on how to improve the performance of Prasar Bharati. The minister agreed that there is need for investing in infrastructure and better equipment. “We will look into the budgetary allocations. Also, the hiring of employees, which had stopped, will be reviewed,” Javadekar said, while addressing a press meet after visiting the Doordarshan Sahyadri office in the city for the first time since taking charge of the ministry. To TelevisionPost.com’s query about giving autonomy to Prasar Bhatrati and accepting other recommendations of the Sam Pitroda Committee, the minister said that Sircar won’t have any complaints. However, he added that the ministry will keenly take note of the performance and look for results. Moving away from the area of public broadcasting, Javadekar said that while he has no intention of stopping private FM players from airing news, it should be reliable. “I don’t see any reason why they (private FM) have to use AIR news. They can use other reliable news sources like PTI or UNI and present it like print publications do,” he said. When asked about the ministry’s take on the paid news menace, Javadekar said that while the matter related to paid news during elections is sub judice in the Supreme Court, there is also another form of paid news, private treaties. “As the matter of paid news is in the SC, I would not like to comment. But, we have got reports and have a view, which we will announce soon,” he said. He further added, “I am very concerned about paid news. Candidates resort to paid news because there is a limit on the amount which they can spend. Earlier, they used to give advertisements and sponsored articles, but they cannot do so now. We want to do away with this menace once and for all. The purity of journalism should be there. News should look like news, an advertisement like an advertisement.” He also added that while he believes in the freedom of the media, media has to be responsible and exercise caution. “I feel the media also has to address the issue of paid news in a serious manner,” he added. Javadekar also announced that the ministry is taking new initiatives towards crowdsourcing. He said that soon government ads will not “look like government ads”. “We spend money on advertising, so why not present the ad in a manner which touches the viewer? So we decided to adopt crowdsourcing. We will invite ideas from the public, and the winners will be awarded. The best idea will be used as a DAVP ad,” he said. He informed that the project has already got off with the Centre’s “desertification programme” where 700 people sent in entries.

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