The television audience is happy with Doordarshan as it’s the only platform that gives news, Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Shashi Shekhar Vempati said, defending the role of the public broadcaster in a crowded market.
“I don’t think we have fallen short in delivering the news that matters to the people. In that sense we have done our job. Everybody else… I don’t know what they’re delivering,” he said.
The private news channels that dominate India’s news space are criticised by many for not spending enough on news gathering and sensationalising the coverage, reducing the prime time news into a cacophony of opinions.
Mr Vempati defended Doordarshan and AIR when questioned about the independence with which it delivers news. “Our track record of news coverage speaks for itself,” he said in an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online.
“I don’t see that just because you are adversarial then in any way you are enhancing your role as a public broadcaster. See the role of public broadcaster is being much larger than getting into this, for example who is going to do news in Khasi, who is going to do news in Garo, who is going to do it in Dogri and Gochri, so those are my bigger priorities right now,” added Shashi Shekhar Vempati, who is working towards serving the underserved areas and communities.
Prasar Bharati was set up in 1997 to bring Doordarshan and All India Radio into one autonomous corporate entity. It runs two 24×7 news channels (DD News and DD India), in all, Prasar Bharati has 7 national and 17 regional channels in its bouquet. Once a monopoly, Doordarshan is facing stiff competition from private channels at present. Though their reach is unmatched, Doordarshan channels have fallen behind private players when it comes to delivering news in cable and satellite homes.
Prasar Bharati is taking several steps such as expanding digital and social media footprint and launching a revamped mobile app to regain its position as the preferred news source of Indian audiences.
“The unfortunate attack that happened in Pulwama, the news coverage that DD News was doing in the last few days has seen DD news alone clocking million plus views daily,” said Vempati while referring to the audience engagement on the YouTube channels of DD News.—Financial Express