NEW DELHI: Embarrassment has a bright side too, as proven by the renovation effort planned for the drab His Master’s Voice public broadcaster Doordarshan. Gaffes like using the footage of former PM Manmohan Singh instead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s on the latter’s recent US visit, wrongly referring to Anantnag in Kashmir as Islamabad and such priceless gems later, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar has decided that a revamp is in the scheme of things.
With the arrival of each new government in Delhi, DD gets a ritualistic facelift. This time, an expert group will be constituted to monitor the content 24x7.
Refresher courses and orientation modules for newsroom staff and motivation plans for employees are on the menu. In the age of slick private broadcasting, the government wants to make the channel competitive with new studios, better presentation and graphics, presentable anchors, varied programming, interactive shows, youth-oriented programmes and increased presence on the social media. Doordarshan will also introduce a mobile App so that people across the country can get public news on the move. Following I&B Ministry’s revamp announcement, DD has re-constituted a High-level Review Committee under the joint chairmanship of its officiating Director General Vijaya Laxmi Chhabra and DG (News) Archana Datta. The committee held its first meeting on Friday.
“Mistakes do happen and they happen on all channels, but the most important thing is that we have put in place a system to check it. It has been discussed openly so that such mistakes don’t happen in the future. We have put a group of officers on duty, who will be watching the channel 24x7 and give feedback, and if there is a mistake even in the scroll, they will immediately call the news service division to get the mistake corrected right away,” Datta told Express.
She said the revamp will take time as everything has to be approved by the ministry. In some cases, tenders need to be floated. DD is the only channel which telecasts news bulletins in English, Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit.
“There are plans to motivate existing staff in the newsroom by using their hidden talent and shifting people from one programme to one of their interest or giving them additional charge. By motivating existing staff, we can improve presentation without spending any money,” Datta added.
I&B sources said that A Surya Prakash, member of the think tank Vivekananda International Foundation could soon take over as Prasar Bharati chairman. The post had fallen vacant after Mrinal Pande’s term got over. The chairperson of Prasar Bharati Board conducts official meetings and decides on the future policies of Doordarshan and All India Radio. The executive power rests with the Prasar Bharati CEO as mandated under the Act.
The think tank has been acting as a talent pool for Modi Government as a number of senior officials were earlier members of this body. They include NSA Ajit Doval, PM’s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra and P K Mishra, Additional Principal Secretary to PM.
Sources say that the government was also keen to amend the Prasar Bharati Act that vests majority power with the CEO, to make the chairperson more powerful. The amendments may also pertain to changing the existing norms for the appointment of Prasar Bharati chairperson, members and CEO.