Nawani yet to say `yes' to IBF

NEW DELHI: After having retained Prasar Bharati CEO KS Sarma as its president and getting Zee Telefilms' Jawahar Goel as the new vice-president, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) wants to have a low profile secretary-general, a sharp contrast to the former executive director flamboyant Bhuwan Lall.

But the man, who is currently being wooed by the apex body of broadcasting companies operating in India, is yet to say yes.

Former bureaucrat NP Nawani, who has also been secretary in the ministry of information and broadcasting during the United Front government's stint at the Centre in 1997, is the person that IBF members would like to have as the secretary-general, the post that was earlier known as that of the executive director.

"The IBF board has authorised the president to open up talks with Nawani, but a final decision can only be taken after the person concerned gives some feedback," an IBF board member said.

According to the information available with, Nawani had been sounded out by Sarma, himself a former bureaucrat before he joined the Prasar Bharati. The former's contention has been that if the choice was "unanimous", he was ready to take up the new assignment, which would fetch him a remuneration of Rs 75,000 per month.

Though Sarma refused to make any official comments on Nawani, sources in the IBF said that IBF is unanimous on the former bureaucrat's candidature for the secretary-general's post.

Meanwhile, the reconstituted IBF board sees new faces in form of Discovery India managing director Deepak Shourie, BBC World's resident director Vinod Bakshi (all regular members), UTV CEO Ronnie Screwvala and NDTV's Narayan Rao (co-opted members) and Ten Sports' Sharmishtha of and Sun TV's Sharad Kumar (special invitees).

SET India CEO Kunal Dasgupta, whose three-year term expired this year has been replaced by Zee's Goel. Markand Adhikari has been co-opted as a director with no voting rights, after the expiry of his term as an office-bearer this year.

The others whose three-year term expired included Sahara TV president Mahesh Prasad and I Venkat of Enaadu TV. The latter, however, has been retained as the treasurer of the IBF.

Other directors on the IBF board, who continue in their position, include Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, TV Today Network CEO G Krishnan, MTV's Alex Kuruvilla and Turner International India's country head Anshuman Misra.

The mood in the IBF is upbeat as president Sarma is understood to have done a good job in keeping the IBF members together and not letting a division happen --- something that had almost become a reality in the wake of conditional access system being sought to be implemented and with IBF members having divergent stand on the matter.

IBF sources also indicated that in 2002 approximately Rs 5000 million dues outstanding against members had been recovered and by the end of this calendar year the rest of money too would be mopped up from advertisers, clients and other media companies.

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