We need to create an atmosphere of mutual trust for broadcasters: Rajat Sharma
Rajat Sharma who was recently elected as President of the NBA talks about his plans for the industry body
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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