Prasar Bharati has come up for criticism on several counts in the recent report submitted by the Standing Committee on Information Technology. Decline in the number of in-house programmes, lack of marketing machinery and poor reception quality of Doordarshan are among the issues that have caught the attention of the Standing Committee.
According to the committee report, production of in-house programmes has been declining year after year. The report noted that around 30 to 35 per cent of DD content was being taken from outside producers in the form of commissioned programmes.
Although DD-I and DD-Regional channels have limited number of commissioned programmes, other DD channels outsource much more. For instance, on Kashmir, North-East and DD News channels, 25-30 per cent programmes are commissioned, according to the report.
The remaining are sponsored and royalty programmes on these channels. DD-II or DD Metro, also mostly has outsourced and sponsored programmes, the report added. ‘‘The Committee is at a loss to understand the reasons for low volume of in-house programmes being produced by Prasar Bharati inspite of their being such huge infrastructural facilities and staff at its disposal which is being sustained at the cost of scarce and valuable public funds,’’ said the report.
Added the report: ‘‘The Committee strongly recommends that the infrastructure, the artists and other staff should be put to optimum use and in-house production of programmes should be commensurate with the available resources. The bottlenecks in this regard should be identified and removed.’’
The report was also critical of the fact that there is no marketing machinery in Prasar Bharati. It said: ‘‘Private channels have set up an effective marketing machinery in terms of infrastructure and manpower and they are able to attract business, which otherwise would have come to Prasar Bharati.’’
The committee, in its report, advised Prasar Bharati that it should modify and strengthen its marketing system in an organised and systematic way without further loss of time.
Noting that DD signal is weak in many parts of the country, particularly in the border areas, the committee said: ‘‘Prasar Bharati has decided to conduct a study with a view to strengthen radio and TV signals in border areas and a research foundation has been engaged for the purpose.’’
It added: ‘‘The Committee trusts that measures recommended by the foundation to strengthen radio and TV signals will be taken up in the right earnest.’’
Besides, the Committee also took a serious note of the official electronic media being used by a minister for announcing his personal explanation to the nation about his resignation.