DD’s news correspondent freeze

NEW DELHI: Is state-owned broadcaster DD saddled with an ageing news correspondent network? If one goes by information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni’s admission in parliament, then this probably is true. She said that no appointments of news correspondents had been made in Doordarshan since the first selection of 51 persons to the posts of news correspondents, assistant news correspondents, and assistant news editors in 1988.

She added that a proposal for appointment of a principal television correspondent and two special news correspondents in Doordarshan and Recruitments Rules in this regard are pending before the finance and personnel ministries respectively.

Thus, the recruitment was made 15 years before the creation of Doordarshan News in 2003, and Prasar Bharati sources told that some persons have been appointed as

‘artists’ from time to time apart from Indian Information Service officers being sent on deputation to DD News. These sources said that at present, Doordarshan has two TV news correspondents, three assistant news correspondents, and 12 TV news correspondents deputed to

various regional kendras.

The 18 TV news correspondents, 27 TV assistant news correspondents, and six TV assistant news editors appointed in 1988 as artists were in May 1993 declared as government servants from the date of their appointment.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni also denied that the Ministry had furnished any undertaking about acceptance of the Joshi Committee of 1985 that had suggested creation of a separate cadre of news correspondents for the pubcaster.

When the Central Administrative Tribunal in Hyderabad had in November 2000 on a petition filed by one correspondent directed Prasar Bharati to induct the applicant in the Indian Broadcasting (Programming) Service, the Government had challenged this decision in the Hyderabad High Court and obtained a stay in April 2001 and the matter was still pending and therefore, sub judice.

The Government, however, claimed that assured career progression had been given to all eligible officers. Meanwhile, it is learnt that subsequent to the Joshi Committee report of 1985, the Urmila Gupta Committee had also recommended creation of a separate cadre for news correspondents. It had opposed the merger of news cadre into the Indian Broadcasting (Programming) Service. This service provides for programme management cadre and programme production cadre in All India

Radio and Doordarshan.

Earlier in February this year, a parliamentary committee in a strongly-worded report regretted that no recruitment has been made in the Indian Broadcasting (Programme) Service, started in 1990, to train a separate cadre of employees for All India Radio and Doordarshan.

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