| 09 Jun 2023
Govt. in favour of making Prasar Bharati fully autonomous says Rathore as AIR marks Indian Broadcasting Day

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore today said that the Government was in favour of Prasar Bharati becoming ‘fully autonomous’.

He expressed satisfaction that the pubcaster was keeping public service ahead of commercial gains and reaching the nook and corner of the country, adding that it was a broadcaster which could not be compared to any other broadcaster in the world or within India.

Prasar Bharati had also encouraged new talent from every part of the country including tribal and rural areas.

The Minister speaking at a symposium on the ‘Role of different communication media in emergence of a new India’ organised by All India Radio (AIR), to mark Indian Broadcasting Day.
Broadcasting began in July 1923 with programmes by the Radio Club of Mumbai and other radio clubs. According to an agreement of 23 July 1927, the private Indian Broadcasting Company Ltd (IBC) was authorised to operate two radio stations: the Mumbai station began on 23 July 1927, and the Calcutta station followed on 26 August 1927.

On 1 March 1930, however, the company went into liquidation. The Government took over the broadcasting facilities, beginning the Indian State Broadcasting Service (ISBS) on 1 April 1930 (on an experimental basis for two years, and permanently in May 1932). On 8 June 1936; the ISBS was renamed AIR.
The Minister said radio was a non-intrusive medium which had become a part of every Indian. In fact, it increased the efficiency of the listener without intruding. Every Indian got information and entertainment from the medium as it was neutral and unbiased.

He welcomed the entry of FM and community radio, as these could fill the communication gaps. He also noted that persons like Jasdev Singh and Ameen Sayani had got recognition because of the medium.

Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash said people could swear by news on AIR and Doordarshan as they were more credible than any other channel.

But Prasar Bharati would not lose track of its role as a public service broadcaster. He said it was this consciousness that had led to its major contribution in making India polio free, and the pubcaster was now playing a similar role in Swachh Bharat.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar said that radio continued to be a vibrant non-intrusive medium which has brought emotional and linguistic bondage in the country, broadcasting in thirty languages.

He said millions of Indians today understood the nuances and importance of classical music because AIR had kept this alive in the face of the more popular film music.

He referred to the role of AIR in 1923, in the era of princely states and provinces when it provided leadership, but said the real challenges came after independence.

Member of Parliament and eminent journalist Tarun Vijay said radio has been the informer from childhood and AIR taught him the nuances of language. FM Gold and the AIR channels continue to stand out in the cacophony of private FM channels which had ruined values and language.
He commended Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving a new vitality with his ‘Mann ki Baat’. The credibility of AIR remains higher than any other channel – be it television or radio.

He also referred to the deterioration of the print media by saying that it was difficult to differentiate news from editorials. He said the editor had no importance in today’s age, whereas he recalled his parents telling him to read the editorials to get the genesis of any news. He regretted that most newspapers had become ‘ad rags’.

He wanted AIR to start a World Broadcasting Channel to reach out to the diaspora and the world and wanted Prasar Bharati to strengthen the infrastructure to reach out to countries in south east Asia.

Senior journalist Madhukar Upadhyay regretted that AIR appeared to have become complacent because it had the largest reach. He also wanted to know why private FM channels should not be permitted news when television channels could do so.

Senior journalist Amit Baruah suggested introduction of licence fee as he felt ‘that gives us all a stake in the broadcaster’. Mediaperson Pranjal Sharma said AIR has to keep in view the fact that social media is free with no bondages.

Eminent litterateur Anamikas said that AIR had helped the unity of the country through language and noted that Hindi which had accepted words from other languages had now become a truly Indian language.