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We need to create an atmosphere of mutual trust for broadcasters: Rajat Sharma

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We need to create an atmosphere of mutual trust for broadcasters: Rajat Sharma

Having taken over the reins of the News Broadcasting Association

(NBA) as its new President, Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India

TV, has his task cut out. From addressing concerns raised by some NBA members

to making this association more inclusive, Sharma plans to overhaul NBA into an

association that puts the interest of the news broadcast industry before any

personal interest. In an exclusive interview with exchange4media, Sharma spoke

about his vision for the NBA and more. Edited excerpts:

What are your immediate priorities as the new president of NBA?

What is required immediately is to create an atmosphere of mutual

trust for broadcasters. NBA is a forum where we can all sit together and

discuss issues related to broadcast industry away from our individual interests,

and where we can talk about the welfare of the broadcast industry.

Tell us about the biggest challenges that news broadcasters are facing today?

There are several challenges. There are challenges related to the

carriage fee, challenges related to the advertising rates and challenges

related to various regulations. But today I feel the most important challenge

is about the perception of the news channels. Very unfairly news channels are

being treated or painted as TRP chasers. Political leaders, judiciary, social

media, everywhere they are just busy portraying that editors are a bunch of

noise makers. This has to be cleared.

We have to tell the world that people who are running the newsrooms,

people who own or run broadcast houses are committed to national interest. They

are working for the welfare of the society and they are not doing all this just

for commercial interest. Their commitment is beyond that.

With the coming of digital and social media how is the news broadcasting space evolving to keep pace with the changing news consumption patterns?

If you look at the number of people watching news channels, it is very

large.  Of course social media does affect us and we do worry about it, but I think the credibility of broadcast media is much more and the reach of broadcast media is much greater.

There were concerns raised by some NBA members earlier saying that the orgaisation is a toothless entity, how do you plan to address such issues?

I will speak to those people who have raised some concerns and we will

find out what exactly do they have in mind. I will also advise them that when

they have a concern related to the industry they should bring it to the NBA.

They should not take it to the media or to the government first. First we

should sit and resolve it. I believe in talking to people. If you look at the

history of NBA, all issues have been resolved amicably on the table and within

the boardroom and I can assure you that this is what will be done.

How do you plan to make NBA more inclusive?

There are a lot of regional channels who are members of the NBA. We

have also opened NBA to players who are digital broadcasters, so we will expand

the NBA and take it to a much larger level.

There have been concerns raised about metrics in broadcasting in the recent past; will you look at addressing such issues?

See there are concerns about BARC, but this cannot be any individual

decision. This has to be a decision taken by the NBA board. If there are any concerns

we will discuss them at the NBA board, but my resolve is that the NBA should

not talk about any individual channel, NBA should address whatever is in the

larger interest of the industry.

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