Television

Discovery-like Doordarshan channel recommended to environment ministry

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MUMBAI: Doordarshan’s experiments with specialised channels aimed at various sectors did not see the outcome on expected lines. It may, however, come up with a 24×7 channel dedicated to an issue.

The third National Wildlife Action Plan (NWAP), effective till 2031, has recommended setting up 'DD Prakriti’, a television channel, for promoting awareness about nature conservation in India. The indigenous exclusive nature channel may start in 2018 and continue through the period of the NWAP.

The new NWAP, released by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change (MoEFCC), recommended the establishing the channel in collaboration with the ministry of information and broadcasting, and Doordarshan.

National Wildlife Board member and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) CEO Vivek Menon has told the Indian Express that the content of Discovery Channel and National Geographic largely came from outside India. One could, instead, watch the proposed Indian channel. Consultations are under way on how to go about establishing the channel -- the focus would be on biodiversity, wildlife and forestry.

A part of the spark for an “indigenous” nature channel came from the intent to showcase Indian filmmakers' work, the NWAP has urged the central government to “use electronic media” in nature awareness programmes and explore utilising the social media.

The government had, in April, stopped the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) from filming in India’s national parks and wildlife sanctuaries for what it called “irreparable damage done to India’s reputation” for five years for the alleged erroneous reporting in a documentary highlighting the government’s “ruthless anti-poaching strategy” in Assam's Kaziranga tiger reserve.

Doordarshan’s experiments, however, did not witness the outcome on expected lines. DD Kisan channel's monthly viewership which peaked in February 2016 (153 lakh) slipped to 58 lakh by December that year, as per a demand-for-grants document submitted in the Lok Sabha. For 2017-18, the channel received a grant-in aid of Rs 800 million, Rs 200 million higher than last year’s. DD Arun Prabha and DD Kashir are also supported by government grant.

It was in November 2014 when DD National tried recreating the legacy in providing quality information and education with its shows 'Janmon ka Bandhan' and 'Prakriti'. Against the backdrop of Jim Corbett National Park, "Prakriti' - Kudrat ko bachane ki jung" tracked the story of an upright forest officer who endeavours to save nature.

If the viewers were to now compare the proposed DD Prakriti with Discovery and Nat Geo, the content, the presentation and the visual appeal need to be top class.

Also Read: Nine Doordarshan 'kendras' fail to utilise budget for Kisan channel

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