Is Aaj Tak going English or regional?

NEW DELHI: The information and broadcasting ministry has received an application from Aaj Tak for starting a news channel and seeking a no-objection for uplinking the channel from India. But there is a catch: the permission has been sought for a regional language news channel.

According to government sources, though many news channels have been proposed, in recent times one application that has come forth seeking various permissions from the I&B ministry, subsequent to which okays will be given by other government agencies and departments, is that of Aaj Tak, which proposes to start a regional language channel.

If government sources are to be believed, then Aaj Tak's advertisement, which had been brought out in various editions of The Times Of India seeking candidates for various categories, including editorial, is for a regional channel, contrary to popular belief that the proposed news channel will be in English. The ad itself does not mention anywhere in the copy that the proposed channel will be an English one.

Aaj Tak's application is being processed for necessary action to be taken on the request, sources say. Aaj Tak Hindi , launched end 2001, has emerged as a strong player in the news channel space and has also managed to dislodge Zee News, primarily catering to the Hindi speaking audiences in the country, from the top slot.

In an annual brand evaluation exercise, which is undertaken by business newspaper Business Standard and reported in today's edition, Aaj Tak, occupying the third spot, is the only media brand to have figured amongst a host of FMCG and consumer electronics brand.

The government source also said that despite the hype, no application from Star India has come yet for their proposed news channel. Star's five year content agreement with NDTV for content on Star News comes to an end on 31 March , 2003.

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