In line with its vision document to generate more in-house contents and to improve quality of programming on Doordarshan and AIR, Prasar Bharati has decided to go in for realignment of its foreign correspondents, besides augmenting its news staff.
The decision was taken at a recent two-day meeting of the Prasar Bharati Board under the chairmanship of Dr. UR Rao. This was the last meeting under Dr. Rao's chairmanship as he has resigned from the Prasar Bharati Board.
Prasar Bharati has decided to relocate its foreign correspondents to more strategic locations to make them more effective. So, while the Brussels correspondent is to be shifted to London, the Hong Kong correspondent is to be relocated to Singapore. There is also a rethinking on shifting Dubai correspondent to Kabul. Currently, against the sanctioned strength of 7 foreign correspondents, Prasar Bharati has only 5 correspondents in place at Hong Kong, Colombo, Dhaka, Brussels and Washington. The pasts at Kathmandu and Dubai are lying vacant. Prasar Bharati not just intends to fill up the vacant posts but is also keen to have its news representatives (if not correspondents, at least stringers) at some more overseas destinations. Besides, Prasar Bharati is also exploring the possibility of making the foreign correspondents more television camera friendly. It has already decided to recruit about 300 stringers at district level to double up as correspondent for DD and AIR.
It may be mentioned that recently the Programme Staff Association of Doordarshan and AIR had expressed serious concern over the acute shortage of programming staff. Says V A Magazine, president Programme Staff Association. "While Doordarshan went on to add channels like DD Metro, DD Regional Channels, DD Bharati, additional posts were not created. Even in some cases when posts were created the recruitment was not done. As a result of this, there is a shortage of 500 - 600 persons in news production. Against the sanctioned strength of 1800 transmission executives there are 960 vacancies which have now gone up to 1200 with the long over due promotion of 240 transmission executives. To tackle this crisis, Prasar Bharati should set up an adhoc recruitment board".
Prasar Bharati CEO K S Sarma is keen to meet the shortage of the sanctioned strength in DD and AIR. "There's shortage of roughly 300 programming persons in DD & AIR. This is to be met by promoting transmission executives. There's also a move to fill up vacancies in the news division", says Sarma.