Started by UPA govt, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV channels to be merged; new entity to be called Sansad TV
The government claimed that the merger has been done for “administrative purposes”, but those who worked with the channels said it is part of the NDA government’s plan to “saffronise public media”
Days after the Modi government announced new policies to ‘regulate’ digital media, Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV – news channels started during the time of UPA governments primarily to cover proceedings in both Houses of Parliament – are being merged in an apparent bid to “control the content” broadcast by them.
The new entity will be known as ‘Sansad TV’, said an official communique released by the government on Monday.
As per the announcement, Ravi Capoor, a retired IAS officer, will be the CEO of the new entity for a period of one year. The services of Manoj Kumar Pandey, CEO of Rajya Sabha TV, have been terminated.
The decision in this regard was taken after the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, Venkaiah Naidu, and Speaker of Lok Sabha, Om Birla both agreed on the merger, said sources.
The government claimed that the merger has been done for “administrative purposes”, but those who worked with the channels said it is part of the NDA government’s plan to “saffronise public media”.
A former employee of Rajya Sabha TV said the move was expected as the talks for the merger started last year. “It is part of the agenda to have full control over the public media,” he said.
He contended that while media outlets – whether public or private – have already been furthering the government’s agenda, the government wanted even more control on them. “The plan is to create new minds, new followers and to work on generations to come,” he said.
As per media reports, a committee was set up to look into the integration of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV in June 2020, and it was proposed to have a “more robust editorial policy”.
The Modi government wanted to make it “more focused and content-driven” for viewers to “know in detail about the functioning of parliamentary institutions and democracy”.
Lok Sabha TV (LSTV) was started as a 24-hour TV channel broadcasting in Hindi and English after being initially launched as ‘DD Lok Sabha’ in 2006.
Rajya Sabha TV was launched in 2011 with an aim to telecast live coverage of Rajya Sabha proceedings and to do incisive analysis of parliamentary affairs while focusing on current national and international affairs.