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Monday, December 31, 2012

Govt plans own channel, real autonomy for Doordarshan

Source: Times of India | Himanshi Dhawan, TNN Dec 16, 2012, 04.50AM IST

Dated: 16th December, 2012, 04.50AM IST


NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has asked regulator Trai for a review of the policy which disallows government ownership of television channels. This letter to the regulator is seen as a precursor to the Centre launching a TV channel of its own.

(I&B ministry was looking to recast Prasar Bharati as a financially autonomous public service broadcaster.)


On November 30, I&B secretary Uday Kumar Varma wrote to Trai chairman Rahul Khullar asking him "to kindly provide your recommendations as to whether the following may be allowed" in broadcasting: central and state government ministries and departments, state-owned companies, undertakings and joint ventures.


Varma cited the instances of the governments of Gujarat, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and the Union HRD ministry seeking permission to operate and distribute their TV channels which the I&B ministry has turned down because the current policy doesn't allow government presence in broadcasting.


Sources in the ministry said Doordarshan was allowed because it was ostensibly run by an autonomous body, Prasar Bharati. They also said that it was a question of time before Prasar Bharati is likely to be asked to raise and manage its own finances and that would automatically lead to the public broadcaster asserting its autonomy.


It's in this context that the government's letter seeking Trai's views on government presence in broadcasting acquires significance. Incidentally, Doordarshan enjoys 92% coverage of the country through its terrestrial network with a viewership of about 2.5 crore people.


Not just TV channels, the government is also keen on having a presence in print and radio too. There is urgency to the move in view of elections in 2014 when the government having its own media would be undoubtedly helpful.


While the Punjab government sought permission for its own TV channel, the Gujarat government and HRD ministry sought the I&B ministry's nod to set up educational channels on their own DTH platforms.


90% of I&B funds spent on Prasar Bharati


Sources said that the I&B ministry was looking to recast Prasar Bharati as a financially autonomous public service broadcaster like the BBC with independent sources of funding like licence fees, commercial programming and ads.


At present 90% of the ministry's fund is spent on funding Prasar Bharati's operations. I&B minister Manish Tewari is said to have discussed the issue with senior memeber of the government. "Why should there be a veil of hypocrisy in running one's own channel or paper? If there are 800 TV channels, allowing 30 more will only be a drop in the ocean. If there are 3,000 radio stations, there can be space for 30 more, and the same is true for papers," the sources said.



Resul Pookutty wishes a seperate Doordarshan for indie films

Source: Times of India | Bollywood: Jyothi Prabhakar, TNN 

Dated: 16th December, 2012, 12.00AM IST


Looks like the coming year is going to be great for Indian filmmaking - Anupam Kher is already doing the award ceremony rounds, AR Rahman is in the Oscar shortlist in Best Original Score for his compositions for the Elizabeth Banks-Chris Pine starrer People Like Us, and so are Shankar, Ehsan, Loy for the title track of Delhi Safari. Also, the film I worked on, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, has got two Golden Globe nominations. So, we have more hope than we had at the Olympics," said Resul, as he lowered his mammoth 'sound catcher' mic on the steps of the Jama Masjid.


He added, "I was so busy, I couldn't even attend the meeting with the I&B minister (where indie filmmakers put forward their concerns). I am roaming the streets for Delhi sounds. I'm roaming around Jama Masjid and Old Delhi eating all the dust, while all those associated with my first bucket film, I.D., are partying," said Resul. And then he revealed that I.D. has bagged the Best Asian Film Award at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IIFK).

Resul is working on the sound design for Aankhon Dekhi, a Rajat Kapoor film. "It is set in Delhi, and is truly a celebration of Indian life. Rajat says the flavour and feel of Delhi has to come through the sounds - and I have shot in the interiors of Jama Masjid and Chandni Chowk; I shot in an old school here where the kids gave me a hard time," he told us.

Coming back to I.D.'s award, the film also got written about as one to watch out for by Cahiers du Cinema, one of the most prestigious cinema publications in the world. But he can't screen the film in India. "There are a few smoking scenes, and also 'F' words, and so, it's got an 'A' certificate. So now, my first job when I return is to present the movie for re-censorship. I am told I can appeal to the Appellate Tribunal," said Resul, who, along with the likes of Ramesh Sippy, has come out with an alternative suggestion to end indie filmmakers' woes. "Maybe there could be a separate Doordarshan channel that shows such films - a world cinema channel - or actually, when multiplexes are given licenses, a condition can be created to reserve one auditorium, or even a specific slot, to show such films. This just has to be done, it is high time. Things have come to such a level where it's easier for me to catch a French film than an award winning Tamil film in my own country."



Prasar Bharati pursues recovery of dues

Source:| team

Date: 12 December 2012 01:41 pm

NEW DELHI: A sum of just over Rs 135.53 million is owed by different departments or ministries to Prasar Bharati.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that "recovery of outstanding dues is being pursued vigorously".

In a reply in Parliament, Tewari said that the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP) of his own Ministry owes an amount of just over Rs 98.43 million to the pubcaster.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry owes around Rs 7.7 million, while Rural Development Ministry owes around Rs 17.7 million.

The Labour and Employment Ministry owes a sum of just over Rs 11.71 million.

Prasar Bharati will receive these amounts for carrying advertisements about the flagship programmes of the present government over Doordarshan and All India Radio.


Prasar Bharati to upgrade AIR with six DRM transmitters

Source: | RnM Team

Published on: 11th December, 2012;  15:08 IST

MUMBAI: As part of the transition to digital broadcasting, public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has issued orders for six DRM-configured transmitters to be installed by All India Radio (AIR).

The purchase of six Nautel NX Series 300 kW medium wave transmitters configured for DRM30 transmission, is part of AIR's plans to upgrade its facilities across the country to DRM30 digital broadcasting. The implementation will allow the broadcaster to get upgraded and also use alternative platforms like podcasting, SMS, webcasting and mobile service amongst others.

Apart from that, AIR also aims to offer a 24 hour news channel along with additional programming and services including Interactive Text Transmission and disaster warning alerts.

DRM Consortium chairperson Ruxandra Obreja said, "When all these transmitters are on-air, with the extra content that will be made available, India will be probably the largest digital radio country in the world. This roll-out should encourage chipset and receiver manufacturers to produce more DRM receivers. The Prasar Bharati announcement re-affirms All India Radio's commitment to digital technologies and proves that DRM has come of age."

Nautel president and CEO Peter Conlon said, "What a tremendous opportunity for the radio industry in India. Prasar Bharati and All India Radio have embarked on a project that will bring great flexibility and a world of possibilities to broadcasting in India. We look forward to working with AIR as they proceed with their digital deployment."


Commonwealth Games: Probe underway in Rs147 crore payment to UK firm

Source: DNA (; Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI


Published: Friday, Dec 7, 2012, 18:15 IST 


Investigation under forex laws is underway regarding payment of over Rs147 crore by Prasar Bharti and Doordarshan to a UK-based firm in the conduct of Commonwealth Games, the Lok Sabha was informed today.


"Investigations conducted by the Enforcement Directorate under the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 indicate that during 2010, Prasar Bharti/ Doordarshan had made payment of Rs147.60 crore to Ms SIS Live in India against the contract for production and coverage facility and services for Commonwealth Games," Minister of State for Finance S S Palanimanickam said in a written reply.


"Investigations are under way," he said, answering a question whether an agency of the government made a payment of Rs 146 crore to the firm in UK without the RBI's permission, thereby violating the FEMA.



Nautel Transmitters to be Used in World’s Largest Digital Radio Deployment

Source: (Broadcaster Canada's Communication Magazine; By Broadcaster

Date: 7th December, 2012

Nautel today announced that the company has been given the honor of participating in the world's largest digital radio deployment to date.India's Prasar Bharati has issued orders for six Nautel NX Series 300 kW medium wave transmitters configured for DRM30 transmission. The purchase is part of All India Radio's plans to upgrade facilities throughout India to DRM30 digital broadcasting.

All India Radio serves 99% of the people in India via their analog broadcasting service, covering a broad range of languages and dialects through the country. They now plan to add the final percentage point to their coverage and convert all signals to digital in the process. This transition will allow AIR to use alternate platforms such as podcasting, SMS, webcasting and mobile services, and offer a 24-hour news channel along with other programming. Additional services such as Interactive Text Transmission and disaster warning are also planned.

Nautel NX Series MW transmitters were first introduced in 2007. These high power transmitters occupy a surprisingly small footprint for their power and offer the industry's highest efficiency (90%) along with AM precorrection, unmatched linearity and Nautel's exclusive Advanced User Interface. Prasar Bharati's purchase of six 300 kW Nautel NX Series transmitters brings the total deployment of this series to over fourteen megawatts, making it the most successful medium wave product line in the industry. Working with Nautel on the deployment are Comcon, Nautel's in-country partner along with Altronic, providing dummy loads and Kintronic Labs, supplying matching systems for the project.

"We are greatly honored to be part of this project," said Hal Kneller, Nautel Regional Sales Manager – Europe andAfrica. "As a member of the DRM Consortium executive and steering boards, it thrills me that Nautel has been chosen to bringIndiainto the age of digital radio with this technology. Not only will listeners hear high quality sound on AM broadcasts, they will also enjoy many of the multi-media features that DRM has to offer. Millions of DRM receivers will now be in demand!"

"What a tremendous opportunity for the radio industry in India," said Peter Conlon, Nautel President and CEO. "Prasar Bharati and All India Radio have embarked on a project that will bring great flexibility and a world of possibilities to broadcasting in that country. Nautel is excited to be a part of this project, and we look forward to working with AIR as they proceed with their digital deployment."


Olympics, Satyamev Jayate fail to boost Doordarshan revenues

Source:; By B B NAGPAL, team

Date: 5 December 2012 7:28 pm

NEW DELHI: Public broadcaster Doordarshan has not managed to boost its overall revenues this financial year despite having done well during the 2012 Olympics in London and getting to simulcast popular shows produced by private broadcasters.

Even the state assembly elections failed to pump up the revenues of Doordarshan as it posted an almost flat-line revenue growth.

In the seven months ended 31 October, Doordarshan's revenues totalled Rs 5.77 billion. The average monthly revenue is at the same level as in the previous year. In the six months ended 30 September 2011, the public broadcasters' revenues were Rs 4.89 billion.

Doordarshan's failure to improve its revenues in a year when it telecast properties with high income potential shows the urgent need for revamping its sales and marketing efforts. It had simulcast the highly popular Star Plus show Satyamev Jayate hosted by actor Aamir Khan, newly-produced mythological serial Ramayana by Zee and youth channel MTV's Coke Studio.

Prasar Bharati, which runs a slew of Doordarshan television channels and All India Radio (AIR), needs to enhance its revenues as the government has from this year decided to fund only the capital expenditure and expenses towards salaries. The remaining operational expenditure will have to be met by Prasar Bharati from its own revenue generation.

Prasar Bharati needs to generate additional revenues of Rs 3.5 billion to Rs 4 billion to be able to meet its operational expenditure, excluding salaries, which would be in the region of Rs 20 billion. A large part of the additional revenue generation is expected from Doordarshan.

Prasar Bharati's higher revenue generation plans include aggressive marketing of advertising slots, putting to use spare infrastructure, bringing about an improvement in content, augmenting DTH services and sharing of towers. The plan also includes efforts at increasing viewership of Doordarshan and listenership of AIR.

The Prasar Bharati board has unanimously approved Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar's proposal to hire professional marketing executives at market salary levels to help the public broadcaster come up with innovative revenue generation plans.

Doordarshan's revenues were Rs 9.90 billion in 2011-12, Rs 9.44 billion in 2010-11 and Rs 8.28 billion in 2009-10. Its total expenditure in the first seven months of this year was Rs 9.90 billion.

Doordarshan's total expenditure in 2009-10 was Rs 14.21 billion, in 2010-11 Rs 14.69 billion, and in 2011-12 Rs 19.10 billion.

Doordarshan's expenditure in the current year so far has been higher due to the impact of the Sixth Central Pay Commission recommendations. In addition, an amount of Rs 1.6 billion was paid this year as accumulated arrears of service tax pertaining to the period from 2003 to 2007.

Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari said under the financial restructuring plan recommended by the Group of Ministers attached to Prasar Bharati and accepted by the cabinet, 100 per cent expenses towards salary and salary related establishment expenses during the next five years from 2012-13 to 2016-17 will be met by the government while all other items of operating expenses are to be borne by Prasar Bharati itself.

The capital loans provided to Prasar Bharati are to be converted into grants-in-aid, and Plan Capital support in future will be provided by the Government in the form of grants-in-aid.

Accumulated interests on the loan-in perpetuity amounting to Rs 2.98 billion and accumulated interests on capital loans and penal interest thereon amounting to Rs 1.10 billion will also be waived.

The accumulated arrears of space segment and spectrum charges of Prasar Bharati up to 31 March 2011 amounting to Rs 1.34954 billion too are being waived.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The man who put Jalandhar on the map

Source: The Indian Express: Story; Anju Agnihotri Chaba : Jalandhar, Sat Dec 01 2012, 05:29 hrs

Published On: 5 December, 2012, Wednesday

Jalandhar, the city which elected former Prime Minister I K Gujral twice to the Lok Sabha, remembers him as the man who gave the city a facelift by bringing in, among others, the Pushpa Gujral Science city, Jalandhar Doordarshan and All India Radio.

After Partition, Gujral's family came to Jalandhar and started living in the house of Mohammad Ali Jinah's relative at Brant Ratt road near Rainak Bazaar, said Deepak Jalandhari — a close associate of the family. "Gujral played an important role in bringing Doordarshan to Jalandhar, as it was initially set to come up in Amritsar. He also played an important role in setting up All India Radio in Jalandhar," he added.

"He gave central grant worth Rs 25 crore to set up the first medical college of Doaba region — Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences and another Rs 10 crore for setting up tubewells," said Jalandhari, adding that after Partition, while the Gujrals were coming to Jalandhar by train, his wife Shiela gave birth to their elder son, Naresh Gujral — a Rajya Sabha MP and SAD leader — at the Jalandhar railway station.

Pushpa Gujral, Gujral's mother was a social worker, who started Nari Niketan — a home for destitute girls. Seema Chopra, a trustee of Jalandhar Nari Niketan, said Gujral had brought the first Centre-sponsored project to Jalandhar — the Do Moria railway overbridge.

Surinder Saini, who has been associated with Gujrals and Nari Niketan since 1999, said: "Gujral brought Ramamandi ROB here and intervened when the Steel Authority of India office was being shifted from Jalandhar to Chandigarh." Gujral was a frequent visitor to the city till 2007.


Doordarshan anchor abducted, robbed, let off

Source: The Financial Express: Story; Dipankar Ghose: New Delhi, Dec 27 2011, 02:57 IST

Published on: 5 December, 2012, Wednesday

New Delhi: A Doordarshan anchor was kidnapped outside Pacific Mall in Kaushambi by three unidentified persons, who forced him to withdraw Rs 40,000 from two different ATMs. They drove away with the journalist's Maruti Swift after letting him off. Police later found it abandoned near Baghpat.

Ashok Srivastava, who hosts the RTI-based show Janne ka Haq on Doordarshan, said he was parking his car at Pacific Mall, Kaushambi, around 8 pm when a man hit him on the head with a pistol.

He said: "My window was rolled down. He hit me with the pistol, and I started bleeding. He held me at gunpoint and said he would kill me unless I remained silent. Then two more men, also armed, entered my car and pulled me into the back seat. They then drove my car towards Ghaziabad, followed by Modinagar. They kept asking me for the password of my credit card, which I had no option but to reveal. They then withdrew Rs 40,000 from two separate ATM booths."

According to Srivastava, while he was being abducted the three kept taunting him constantly, enquiring if he was from a wealthy family and how much ransom his relatives would be willing to give. "At one point, they parked the car in a secluded area near Baraut and started drinking. I was able to convince them that I didn't have any money. They told me if I went to the police, they would hunt my family down and kill them because this was 'business' for them. Around 1 am, they left me near a bus stop and told me to find my way home. I immediately went to the police station, and reached home around 7 am," he said.

Police said they have located the stolen car, and are now trying to identify the gang responsible for the kidnapping. J K Shahi, Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad (City), said, "We are trying to identify the three persons. After abandoning the car, the three allegedly robbed a Baghpat resident of his motorcycle to make their escape."

Police said the robbers may not have known that Srivastava was a senior journalist. "While the crime was definitely planned, from what we have gathered from Srivastava, it seems like they did not specifically target him. They just planned to kidnap anybody who had parked there," a senior officer said.

Cases have been registered under Sections 394 (causing hurt during robbery), 342 (wrongful confinement) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code at the Indirapuram police station.


BCCI plans to share radio rights with Prasar Bharati

Source: The Financial Express: Story; Nistula Hebbar, Ashish Sinha: New Delhi, Oct 29 2011


Published on: 5 December, 2012, Wednesday


New Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is planning to unbundle radio broadcasting rights from television rights after it was pulled up by the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry last week. Sources said senior BCCI officials will soon take up the matter with Neo Sports, the TV and radio rights holder, and its parent Nimbus, the production house. "Whatever steps are required to make radio signals available to Prasar Bharati will be taken," said a source in BCCI.

So far, BCCI has bundled various media rights for international and domestic cricket tournaments held in the country to maximise returns. Unbundling of radio broadcast rights from TV rights may prompt a complete re-look at the existing commercial agreements between Nimbus and BCCI, sources said.

During the recent India-England one-day international (ODI) cricket series, public broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) did not get radio signals from Nimbus and BCCI for the first three matches, though AIR had offered $6,000 per ODI. Millions of cricket enthusiasts tuning into AIR were disappointed, prompting the I&B ministry to step in.

In a strongly-worded letter to the BCCI, the ministry said radio signals were not covered by the Sports Act and, therefore, there are no provisions for its broadcast on private FM channels or a 50:50 revenue sharing arrangement with Prasar Bharati. Therefore, BCCI should directly engage with the government so as to provide the radio rights to AIR on an agreed fees, it told BCCI.

A letter from the I&B ministry to BCCI was initiated after Neo Sports refused to share radio signals with AIR recently during the India-England ODI series, senior government officials said.

Currently, none of the private FM radio stations are allowed to broadcast live commentary or news bulletins under the FM-II radio policy.

However, under the proposed FM-III policy guidelines, it is proposed that private FM stations will get to air news and current affairs shows sourced from AIR, but not live sports broadcasting.

Live coverage of sporting events of national importance may go to AIR's own network of radio stations including the FM radio stations and this is the reason the government wants the radio broadcast rights for cricket matches played in India to be unbundled and made available to the public broadcaster, sources said.


Doordarshan DTH to add more channels soon

Source: The Financial Express: Story by Chandan Banerjee: Kolkata, Oct 8 , Oct 09 2008, 00:33 IST

Published on: 5 December, 2012, Wednesday

Kolkata, Oct 8 : The Prasar Bharati operated direct-to-home platform, DD Direct Plus, is planning to include more television channels into its bouquet by March 2009. According to a well-placed source at the Doordarshan, DD Direct Plus, at present, is airing 46 TV channels and 21 stations of the All India Radio. Talks are on with some broadcasters, who are keen on adding their channels to reach more subscribers in cable and non-cable areas through the DTH.

"A number of pay and free-to-air broadcasters have approached us to carry their channels on our platform. The discussion will take a final shape within a very short time. Broadcasters are naturally interested, as we have slashed the carriage fees or placement charges. Moreover, our market share is bigger than that of any private DTH player," he said.

DD Direct Plus, being aired via the Insat-4B/93.5 satellite from its earth station in Delhi, used to charge Rs 1 crore per year from a broadcaster. This has come down to Rs 60 lakh. On the other hand, private DTH players charge in between Rs 3.5 and Rs 4 crore a year. DD Direct Plus has already reached to one crore households across the country.


Govt cracks whip on 'errant' FM radio channels

Source: Deccan Herald

New Delhi, Nov 28, 2012,

DHNS: Ministry asks them to stop airing vulgar, objectionable content


Taking serious note of airing of "vulgar" and "objectionable" content by many private FM channels, the government has issued a warning asking all of them to abide by the programme and advertisement code followed by the All India Radio, or else face penal action.

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has cracked the whip on the private FM channel operators after it received several complaints about contents being aired by some of them.

"It came to our notice that vulgar and objectionable content was being aired on several FM radio channels. The language used by many radio jockeys was indecent and offensive. They often make defamatory and derogatory comments, particularly in night hours, which do not appear to be in good taste," official sources in the Ministry said.

Taking note of the complaints, the Ministry asked all the FM radio operators to refrain from airing such content, reminding them of their responsibility to ensure that nothing in violation of the conditions stipulated at the time granting them permission should be aired.

"We have issued a sort for advisory to all the FM radio operators now. Serious action will be taken, if any of them further violate the code. Serious action includes penal action as deemed fit in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the grant of permission agreement," a ministry official said.

The code

AIR Programme and Advertising code does not permit attacks on religion or communities, anything obscene, any incitement to violence or anything that may adversely affect law and order.

The broadcasting code clearly prohibits airing of any programme that involves criticism of friendly countries, attack on religious communities, attack on political party by name, hostile criticism of any state government or the centre appeals for fund and trade names in broadcast which amounts to advertising directly.

"These are the some of the basic conditions that is put at the time of granting permission. The operators of FM radio channels are duty bound to fulfill all the conditions stipulated in the grant of permission agreement," the official added.

There are 242 private FM channels operational in the country. In July, the government approved a policy on expansion of FM radio broadcasting services.

Sources said the ministry has plans to permit 839 more FM channels in 294 cities through e-auction, on the lines followed by the department of telecommunication (DoT) in the auction of 3G and BWA (broadband wireless access) spectrum.