Television

News channels gear up for Clinton

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It is that time when cameramen will jostle to get a good angle and TV journalists will hanker for a sound byte from the US President, Bill Clinton, and Indian President and Prime Minister. After all, Clinton's visit to India is big media event.

And almost all the satellite channels and Doordarshan are trying to find how they can be different from the others. As managing director of TV Eighteen India Ltd, Raghav Bahl, said about the coverage on CNBC India, "It will be hectic time, but we will be focussing more on the business aspect of Clinton;s visit and what it means for the two countries."

What's more, with the Indian government giving permission to almost all the channels to go live, the channel managements are leaving no cameras unturned to bring to their audience round the world the event which is being billed as one of the the biggest media events of 2000.

CNN which is not only flying down celebrity anchor Riz Khan to do special interviews with the likes of Yashwant Sinha relating to Clinton's visit, but the channel's special event team too is coming (with the US president) to see there are no last minute glitches.

"CNN has planned a special series of stories on the US President's visit and the countdown has already begun with some stories already on air," a senior executive Turner International India, the parent company of CNN, said, adding, most of the programmes will be live.

Zee News, like Star News, will attempt to be different from the likes of CNNs and BBCs. Beginning with a story on presidential aircraft, put out yesterday, Zee News, as a senior executive of Zee pointed out, "will be hoping to do some value additions on the other aspects of Clinton's visit too, apart from the political and business angles."

Since a major portion of Zee News' audience are Hindi-speaking, the channel is trying to do a voice over in Hindi for important speeches, etc made by the US president.

There'll be every day, beginning Monday, a 30-minute programme on Clinton's visit from 8.30-9 p.m. till Saturday.

"This apart, we will be following the Clinton family and the President in Hyderabad, Agra, Rajasthan, Mumbai, etc," a senior executive of Star News said.

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is planning one of its biggest ever series of live broadcasts from South Asia during the Clinton visit to the region.

Special television and radio programmes will be aired from Delhi and Islamabad anchored by the BBC's South Asia correspondent and regional bureau chief Mike Wooldridge.

"This is a historic visit for the region and a crucial news story for BBC. South Asia is and always has been one of the cornerstones of BBC's international broadcasting and this tour will showcase our unrivaled expertise and resources in broadcast news," Wooldridge said.

BBC had covered the last presidential visit to the region by Jimmy Carter when many of the news organisations around today did not even exist, according to Wooldridge.

The BBC's deputy bureau chief Satish Jacob, who covered the Carter visit to India for the BBC in 1978, will also be part of the commentary team. India correspondent Daniel Lak who is traveling the country with the Clinton entourage and BBC's Washington correspondent Richard Lister as part of the White House Press Corp to give the inside information from the Clinton camp.

The live coverage on BBC World television and BBC World Service radio will start from March 20 evening.

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