Congress-backed Malayalam infotainment channel Jaihind TV, which was initially targetted for the 2006 Assembly elections, is going on air from August 17. The channel is based in Thiruvananthapuram and will have a mix of news and entertainment content. It is funded by a group of businessmen in Kerala under the banner of Bharat Broadcasting Network Ltd (BBNL).
According to a source close to the developments, BBNL had made an initial investment of Rs 550 million in the project. Dubai-based NRI entrepreneur Aniyan Kutty, who is Chairman of the channel, is said to be the major stakeholder, who has invested Rs 100 million.
When questioned on media reports stating that Jaihind TV was clearly designed to counter Kerala CPI-M’s Kairali TV, Kutty replied, “Just because we have the moral support of the Congress and the party has invested in this venture, it does not mean that the channel would be a Congress propaganda tool. The channel would be a 100 per cent neutral channel with the right mix of news and entertainment. The channel would be run by professional management teams like any other channel.”
When asked about the possibility of actor Mohanlal holding any advisory role in the venture, similar to Mamootty’s chairmanship of Kairali TV, Kutty said, “Mohanlal does not have any role in the channel. He could be a well-wisher for the channel.”
The channel will have seven news bulletins, besides a variety of programmes for children, women and the youth. When asked whether there were any plans to launch other channels, Kutty replied in the affirmative. “We are planning to launch other regional language channels, but the rollout mode and the timeframe for the same is yet to be finalised,” he said.
Addressing a press conference earlier this week, Congress leader and Channel Director MM Hassan, and BBNL Chairman Vijayan Thomas said that the channel would be launched by Congress President Sonia Gandhi at a function in New Delhi on August 17.
Jaihind TV will be headed by former Doordarshan Deputy Director General K Kunhikrishnan in the capacity of CEO. Sunnykutty Abraham, a senior journalist from Mathrubhumi, has been roped in as COO of the channel. Abraham has been given the additional responsibility of News Division Head as well. Former Indiavision Producer Shiny Jacob Benjamin will head the programming division. News, current affairs and a few entertainment projects will be produced in-house.