Prasar Bharati To Continue Monitoring Airtime

Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati has decided to continue monitoring air time allocation on Doordarshan and All India Radio to ensure fair and adequate coverage of news related to opposition parties, according to people aware of the developments.

A three-member committee to monitor the airtime allocated to news and views related to opposition parties was set up in April, following a complaint from the Congress party, that the broadcasters arms of PB, DD and AIR were giving more time to news related to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Subsequently, the election commission had also pulled up the public broadcaster.

In a decision taken last month, PB has decided to continue monitoring the allocation of airtime even though elections are over and the model code of conduct is no longer applicable.

“It has been decided that the committee will continue to function to review live coverage, news reporting, news analysis etc. so as to have fair and adequate coverage in line with the letter and spirit of the Prasar Bharati Act,” said a functionary aware of the developments.

The committee, which was mandated to monitor, oversee and advise in the implementation of Model Code of Conduct during the general election and corresponding guidelines in the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990, reports to the CEO, Prasar Bharati on a weekly basis.

The three-member committee was formed after the Congress party, alleged bias by DD News while broadcasting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Main bhi chowkidar’ programme for nearly an hour.

A notice was then issued by the EC to DD News and a report by the Director General, Doordarshan News on April 5, led the poll panel to conclude that the coverage was not in accordance with the model code of conduct that says the “misuse of official mass media during the election period for partisan coverage of political news and publicity news and publicity regarding achievement with a view of furthering the prospects of the party in power shall be scrupulously avoided.”―Hindustan Times

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