Prasar Bharati staff oppose global tenders for Commonwealth Games

Prasar Bharati staff oppose global tenders for Commonwealth Games

NEW DELHI: Even as the employees of Prasar Bharati decided to agitate against the decision of chief executive officer B S Lalli to go in for global tenders for coverage of the Commonwealth Games next year, some members of the Prasar Bharati Board feel this is being done as the broadcaster does not have the technology for High Definition Television that is needed in most recipient countries.

Two members of Parliament, Communist Party of India (Marxist) member Hannan Mollah and D Raja of the CPI, described the move as "nothing but an attempt to destroy the Public Service Broadcaster of the nation." Raja said that this was an attempt to hand over the Games coverage to private parties on contract basis.

Speaking at a gate meeting organized by the National Federation of Akashvani and Doordarshan Employees (NFADE), the leaders extended full support to the employees of the pubcaster.

While Lalli was not available for comment, some members of the Board who did not want to be named justified the decision as they said India did not have the technology. However, some of them expressed unhappiness at the fact that they had been informed about the decision to invite Expression of Interest (EOI) from private parties after it had been taken and they had not been consulted at the initial stage, which violated the spirit of the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act 1990.

Leaders of the NFADE claimed that Prasar Bharati employees had proved their ability to cover international events as far back as the Asian Games of 1982, and there was enough time for the pubcaster to get the necessary technology before the Commonwealth Games which are being held towards the end of next year. Instead of equipping Doordarshan with latest technical facilities to face the new challenges which will definitely enrich the professionalism, this is an attempt to pave the road for corruption which may benefit some senior officers of Prasar Bharati, they said.

The leaders of different staff associations/unions said that such attempt is nothing but meticulously planned mode of corruption to play with public money. The Federation leaders called upon the members to be prepared for a strong agitation to ensure the telecasting of the Commonwealth Games.

The leaders of NFADE said the employees of AIR & DD would boycott the transmission of coverage of the Commonwealth Game 2010 if the production and coverage is handed over to private parties and not to the professionals of Doordarshan. Such invitation of interest by Prasar Bharati through global tender will benefit the foreign media houses.