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DD India to reposition as English channel; digital platform to launch before elections

Prasar Bharati’s news service will cater to a global audience.

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MUMBAI: Even as all the private media houses are gearing up for the general election, public broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) are not lagging in their attempts to make hay out of the most lucrative season for news channels.

According to ThePrint, DD India will be revamped and positioned as an English news channel for the global audience soon while AIR is planning to launch a 24×7 news stream in the next few weeks. Apart from this, Prasar Bharati News Service, a 24×7 digital platform for the global audience, is also set to begin in the next few weeks which is conceptualised along the lines of BBC and CNN in 2017 by a panel headed by Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash.

The digital platform will broadcast international news to a global audience to counter anti-India narratives in the foreign media. According to reports, the platform will be an app-based interface that will offer services in multiple languages and publish news in the form of text, video, podcast and alerts.

About the content, Vempati said, “The contents on these channels will be guided by the Prasar Bharati Act, which lays out quite clearly the mandate of the public service broadcaster.”

The plan for the new 24X7 AIR stream is to broadcast news bulletins primarily in English and Hindi which will go live in the next few weeks.

“AIR did not have any such channel. News bulletins were broadcast sporadically in gaps across the AIR network,” Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati told ThePrint.

A 24×7 stream, officials said, will help expand the reach of AIR news significantly, running parallel to AIR’s recent decision to share its unaltered news feed with private FM channels as a pilot project.

FM radio channels are currently not allowed to produce and broadcast their own news bulletins, so the move will help the wider dissemination of AIR news since nearly 235 private radio stations across India have already registered with Prasar Bharati to source AIR news content.

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