Hindu writeups about Journalism and Prasara Bharati

The Hindu has published two news items, one about journalism and another about Prasara Bharati. Both  are interesting. Here are just two paragaraphs from each article. The interested may click the links below to read complete articles.

Journalism must become more participative

CHENNAI: With the growing spread of the digital medium, journalism will have to become more participative by seeking and allowing responses from readers, Alan Rusbridger, Editor of The Guardian, United Kingdom, said on Saturday.

Delivering a lecture organised by The Hindu and the Asian College of Journalism on ‘The future of journalism in the digital age,’ Mr. Rusbridger referred to the debate that his paper had on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, adding that others (non-journalists) could be involved in the pre-publication processes as well.

Pointing out that journalists were not the only voices of authority, expertise and interest, Mr. Rusbridger said that in the digital age, journalism should encourage others to initiate debate or make suggestions. “Newspapers can utilise the digital records of non-journalists who happened to witness events,” he said.


Can we afford Prasar Bharati?

A ugust and September have been distracting months for the scandal-chasing media. Else somebody would at least have drawn attention to the extraordinary developments concerning Prasar Bharati. In August, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting recommended the dismissal of its Chief Executive to the Prime Minister. And in the same month, she introduced an amendment bill in Parliament that seeks in effect to ensure that all employees of the corporation will remain government servants on deemed deputation. Three milestones achieved by non-Congress governments in 1978, 1990 and 1997 have been quietly reduced to rubble.

Lal Krishna Advani mooted the idea of broadcasting autonomy in 1978, P. Upendra presided over its becoming an Act in1990, and seven years later yet another non-Congress government hastily notified the Act just before the government fell. But for all their pains, what has developed since represents neither public service broadcasting in its best sense, nor autonomy. A 38,000-employee behemoth now has its 20-plus registered employee unions, all clamouring for the Act to be withdrawn. They want Prasar Bharati to go back to being what they euphemistically call a national broadcaster so that they can go back to being proper government servants. With tax payers now footing an annual bill of Rs. 3,000 crore for the privilege of having a public service broadcaster!

Meanwhile, the Central Vigilance Commission has found colourful examples of autonomous functioning by the CEO and his colleagues, amounting to questionable financial dealings. And the board set up to oversee Prasar Bharati finds itself in a quirky position. The decisions it takes are simply not recorded by the CEO who records the minutes. A huge democracy that set out to give itself broadcasting autonomy has ended up giving one man autonomy, through the tenures of three different chairpersons. Though found guilty of presiding over highly suspicious decision-making by the CVC, the next step, that of suspension, so that an enquiry can take place, has not been taken. The leaders of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, both former Ministers of Information and Broadcasting, should be asking why.

How did this country’s experiment with an autonomous public broadcaster come to such a sorry pass?



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