The government said today that it has no plans to terminate All India Radio’s longstanding subscriptions of PTI and UNI news services. Replying to a written question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said the services of the two news agencies are used to supplement the news requirement of AIR. “No, madam,” Rathore said in a written reply to a question by Chintaman Navasha Wanaga of BJP. His question was whether the government had any plan to stop the Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI) news services in AIR, and obtain news from Hindustan Samachar in Indian languages as well as English and Hindi in one or two months.
The Minister also said Prasar Bharati, an autonomous body that runs AIR and Doordarshan, has informed the government that currently the news services division of AIR is subscribing to PTI and UNI. “It is also having free trial service of Hindustan Samachar. Reviews of performance of news agencies are done from time to time to assess their value and relevance taking into account the unique position of AIR in the country,” he said.
Reviews of performance of news agencies are done from time to time to assess their value and relevance taking into account the unique position of AIR in the country, Rathore added. PTI is India’s largest and oldest news agency and operates as an independent not-for-profit news cooperative, owned by newspapers. Besides AIR and Doordarshan, PTI has subscribers across India and in other countries. UNI also is a not-for-profit news agency owned by newspapers.
Rathore’s reply came amid recent news reports that Prasar Bharati plans to suspend the services of the two news agencies, and instead rely on Hindusthan Samachar.