Media watchers who are expecting some fireworks over much talked about 'Doordarshan News' channel in today's board meeting of Prasar Bharati will be disappointed. The hot and controversial issue of reviving the DD News channel replaced by DD Bharati in January last, does not figure in the agenda.
After their last board meeting Prasar Bharati bosses have been pushing through for the re-launch of DD News, much against the wishes of I&B mandarins who are opposed to the idea on the ground that the channel is commercially non-viable.
The spot had generated lot of controversy in the press. A leading English national daily had gone to the extent of carrying out a campaign in favour of reviving DD news channel. It had even announced that the channel was planned to go on air from September15. This paper even wrote that DG Doordarshan S.Y. Quraishi was asked to fine tune the proposal for DD News Channel before today's meeting of Prasar Bharati Board.
Quraishi however stoutly denies this. "DD News Channel chapter is closed. We are not going to revive it. Infact there was never a proposal to revive this channel which was closed down in January as it was commercially unviable. In any case, we do not need it as DD 1 with hourly live news bulletins is the only 24 hour news channel in real sense while other satellite channels carry recorded bulletins". He also questions the wisdom of starting a satellite news channel with a limited reach, denying its access to millions of viewers in India who are dependent only on terrestrial broadcast.
Meanwhile Prasar Bharati Board in today's meeting will discuss the crucial issue of Sports right acquisition procedures and equipment procurement procedures. The other agenda items relate to AIR Rate Card and discontinuing UvVani service at AIR Patna.