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Press Council must get more teeth, says Prasar Bharati Chief

According to A Surya Prakash, media self-regulatory mechanism appears inadequate, and there is need for Press Council to become a Media Council

Press Council must get more teeth, says Prasar Bharati Chief

According to A Surya Prakash, media self-regulatory mechanism appears inadequate, and there is need for Press Council to become a Media Council

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | March 17, 2015

Prasar-Bharati-Chairman-A-Surya-Prakash-addressing-the-PRCI-Conclave-in-the-capital-city Surya Prakash

Expressing concern at the ‘inadequate’ self-regulatory mechanism within media, Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash has suggested that the Press Council must become a Media Council, with adequate media representation and acquire more teeth.

He further said, “Each and every Indian is a stakeholder in Prasar Bharati, since it depends on Union Budgetary support – about Rs 2,100 crore out of its Rs 4,000-crore budget in the current financial year. Its own revenue generation is around Rs 1,650 crore as of now, and with increased focus on internal revenue generation, this is expected to improve.”

Surya Prakash, who is also a veteran journalist, was addressing an open session at the 9th Global Communication Conclave organised by the communication industry body Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) in the Capital.

Earlier, during a panel discussion on media and PR ethics, delegates expressed concern over the recent developments that led to unpleasant developments. Responding, Editors Guild General Secretary Ajay Upadhyay said that the entire media community need not be painted with the same brush just because of some perceived unethical practices. Most media houses do have gatekeepers in the form of strong news desks and editors to check the flow of the news into the newspapers and channels.

Veteran journalist KA Badarinath, Editor - Policy at Financial Chronicle, explained that media persons in general took adequate care while using tones of information that they get in the process of collecting the news.

During the two-day conclave that concluded on Saturday, March 14, 2015, communication professionals took part in panel discussions on media and PR ethics, CSR, financial inclusion, youth, technology and sexual harassment at the workplace.

MB Jayaram, Chairman Emeritus and Chief Mentor of PRCI, informed that based on the suggestions from speakers, PRCI had decided to launch an awareness drive for adopting ethical practices among public relations practitioners and conduct skill development programmes for professionals to understand the functioning of media and its information needs.

Speaking further, Surya Prakash remarked that the news packages on Doordarshan and All India Radio were being revamped to make them contemporary and appealing to the audience. “The average age of employees at Prasar Bharati is 50-plus because of the absence of a Prasar Bharati Recruitment Board. There is need for fresh infusion of talent and, therefore, there is urgent need to have the recruitment boards in place,” he said, adding that work was on to change the look and feel of the news channel and programmes and to get over the “Sarkari mindset” within the organisation. “We have been working towards setting up a Prasar Bharati Recruitment Board to work towards this goal,” he said.

Prasar Bharati is also looking forward to a new rating agency, as the present system of gauging TRPs is woefully inadequate. “Hopefully, once the new system is in place, we will have a more authentic gauge of our viewership and listenership,” Surya Prakash added.

Prasar Bharati is also in the process of strengthening its social media presence. For instance, DD has 610,000 followers and AIR 510,000 followers on Twitter. The Prasar Bharati Chief called this “not enough” and added, “We need to take a big leap forward.” He pointed out that the Republic Day parade video got over two million hits on YouTube and “this is a pointer to the rewards one gets for quality programming”.



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