I&B ministry plans to revive DD, AIR

Written by Anushree Bhattacharyya | Panaji | Updated: Jun 2 2014, 03:43am hrs
Prakash Javadekar, the newly appointed minister of information and broadcasting, has said that the ministry has plans to revive public broadcaster Prasar Bharati, the holding body for All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan. Speaking on the sidelines of the 9th edition of Goafest on Saturday, Javadekar said, We want to make both Doordarshan and AIR a success story. We want to make them prominent and also take them to a level where both of them can compete against private channels. He added that he would listen to grievances of cable television operators only when DD is in the primary band and is carried by all.

Speaking on freedom of the press, Javadekar said it comes with responsibility. He, however, said the new government will not pass any law which could be a cause of concern for the industry. Citing the example of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI), he said, The ASCI has been a wonderful example of self-regulation and has proven that nothing is better than that. If the industry is able to come out with such solution which is within the larger interest of the society, then there is no requirement for the government to interfere, he added.

Javadekar talked about other issues such as cross-media ownership and cable television digitisation being faced by the broadcast industry and how the ministry plans to meet all the stakeholders of the industry before coming to a solution. Speaking on phases three and four of digitisation, he said 11 crore set-top-boxes are required to complete the process. The government is currently mulling whether to import the set-top-boxes from China or get them locally manufactured. After consulting with ministries, we will find a solution to this issue and then initiate the process of digitisation, he said.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had earlier fixed 2014-end as the sunset date for completion of the process of cable television digitisation, with phase III expected to be completed by September and Phase IV by December. The government had received many complaints on faulty set-top-boxes during phases I and II. The set-top-boxes were imported mainly from China and other Asian countries.