To counter ‘anti-India’ narrative, Prasar Bharati plans global digital platform

By: | Published: April 9, 2017 4:46 PM

To challenge the "anti-India" narrative in foreign media and to report events from the country's perspective to global audiences, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has set its eyes on a high-tech digital platform.

The panel, which was headed by Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash, in its report has advocated creating a “globally respected digital news platform advocating Indian national interest”. (Representative Image: Reuters)

To challenge the “anti-India” narrative in foreign media and to report events from the country’s perspective to global audiences, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has set its eyes on a high-tech digital platform. The Prasar Bharati board recently approved a report for the creation of a new web-based platform in addition to All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, whose primary focus is domestic audience. The report has now been forwarded to Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

The panel, which was headed by Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash, in its report has advocated creating a “globally respected digital news platform advocating Indian national interest”.

“India is the fastest growing economy and there have been extraordinary steps taken in the area of governance. These can act as a template for many governments. But the western media portrays a picture as if it is a conflict zone which is absolutely bogus. We need to set it right,” Surya Prakash told PTI.

According to the report of the panel, the new platform would aim to have global opinion-makers, global influencers, Indian diaspora, global academia and think tanks among its audience.

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According to the report of the committee, the digital platform would focus on South Asia, North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia-Pacific.

It would provide in-depth commentary on areas like global economy, geo-politics, terror, global crises and soft power.

The high-level committee has recommended that the new digital body should be created under the Companies Act and has estimated that its annual operating costs would be around Rs 75 crore.

According to the ambitious targets being set by the panel, the web-based platform would have a traffic goal of 10 million by its third year of operations which would be taken to 100 million by its fifth year.

The panel has also suggested that the new medium should experiment with its content and have a variety of programmes ranging from talent shows, quizzes, travel, adventure, apps and even humour-based shows.

A key goal behind the plan to set up a new digital entity is to break free of “stereotypes” about the way India is reported across globally by foreign media.

The digital platform would have its own flagship programmes hosted by popular anchors.

The digital platform would be initially be in English but to reach out to a larger audience there would be a Spanish as well as a Chinese desk as well.

The committee has also advocated the use of latest analytic tools so as to ensure that the content can reach the right audiences.

Apart from Surya Prakash, the other members of the committee were Rajeev Singh (presently acting CEO of Prasar Bharati), board members Shashi Shekhar Vempati, Sunil Alagh, journalist R Jagannathan, academic Vamsee Juluri and management expert Ritesh Bawri.

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