Prasar Bharti to shut down AIR’s national channel, five regional academies

India’s national state broadcaster has decided to shut down the only national channel of AIR besides five academies of broadcasting and multimedia as a cost-cutting and rationalisation measure

Photo: Vipin
Photo: Vipin

NH Web Desk

Prasar Bharati, India’s Public Sector Broadcaster, has decided to close down All India Radio's national channel and its regional training academies in five cities as part of "cost-cutting measures" and to "rationalise" services.

The order comes at a time when there is growing speculation that Narendra Modi government may dissolve Prasar Bharati after 2019 and convert Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) into corporations, employees of the two bodies have been agitating since Wednesday.

The programme, technical, ministerial and other staff posted at National Channel in Todapur and Nagpur etc, apart from those working at Regional Academies of Broadcasting and Multimedia (RABMs) in five cities, may be posted as per the requirement of the organisation, said the order issued by the Directorate General, All India Radio (AIR).

In order to "rationalise AIR services and keeping in view of the cost-cutting measures", it has been decided by Prasar Bharati and communicated to DG AIR on December 24, 2018, to close down the national channel of AIR and RABMs located at Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Shillong and Thiruvananthapuram with immediate effect, it said.

The order, dated January 3, stated that the programmes of archival value maintained by national channel should be sent to the central archives in Delhi for digitization and preservation for posterity.

Prasar Bharti to shut down AIR’s national channel, five regional academies

The national channel, which broadcasts from 6 pm to 6 am, came up in 1987 and played an important role in keeping people abreast with national issues, an AIR source said.

"National channel has a huge repository of programmes and the personnel will now be redeployed," the source said.

It is understood that certain sections within AIR are not happy with the decision as they believe that the national channel was an important part of the broadcasts and there were other ways to cut costs than shutting it down altogether.

"These days you can livestream, you can make it an application-based service, there are many other ways of cost cutting. The effort should have been to strengthen national channel and not close it down," a source said.

Pertinently, several disgruntled employees had openly slammed Prasar Bharti for not spending enough on content creation and recruiting non-professionals to head key programme posts, denying them time-bound promotions, earlier last year.

(With PTI inputs)

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Published: 05 Jan 2019, 2:04 PM