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National News Sourced Wired

24-hour news channel on AIR under consideration: I&B Secretary

Amritsar, Apr. 13 (ANI): Information and Broadcasting Secretary Uday Kumar Varma has stated that the ministry is considering launching a 24-hour news channel on AIR on the pattern of DD news.

Addressing a meeting in Amritsar with Punjab based Heads of various media units of Information and Broadcasting, Varma said that government is exploring various aspects and the technicalities involved in launching a 24-hour news channel on All India Radio.

He reviewed the existing status of AIR & DDK transmission in the border areas, and discussed in detail the progress of digitalization of AIR and DDK.

Varma said the government has evolved a programme wherein transmission facilities in border areas will be adequately strengthened. He stated that to achieve this end, sufficient funds have been earmarked in the 12th Plan. He observed that digitalization is taking place successfully and rapidly in India as compared to USA, UK, and China etc which took them 10 to 15 years to accomplish this task.

Varma expressed confidence that digitalization of transmission signals will completely change the broadcasting scenario in the country within the next couple of years.

Stressing the officers to improve the quality and content of their programmes. Varma underlined the need for evolving a system of getting feedback from the masses to ascertain and assess people’s reception and response to such programmes.

He directed the DD authorities to explore the possibility of introducing a Toll Free number on which viewers, cutting across national borders, could directly voice their opinion. He also instructed the AIR officers to explore the feasibility of relaying Vividh Bharati programme on FM Rainbow during its non-broadcast slots.

Reacting to certain reports on monopoly by certain private cable TV operators, Varma said the matter stands already referred to TRAI for rendering its legal opinion on the issue.

Speaking about Prasar Bharti, he said to determine and define the relations between the Govt. and the Prasar Bharati an Expert Committee, under the Chairmanship of, Sam Pitroda has been set up. He said process to fill vacancies in Prasar Bharati has already been initiated. Varma said the government will fully bear the burden of salaries etc. on all employees for the next 5 years who were in AIR or DD till 2007.

He also reviewed the functioning of PIB, and DFP in the State and assured to address their functional difficulties.

In today’s meeting, officers from All India Radio, Doordarshan Kendra, Press Information Bureau and Dte. of Field Publicity took part and apprised the worthily Secretary of their functioning in their respective fields in the State.

Earlier, Varma paid obeisance at the Golden Temple on the auspicious occasion of Baisakhi. (ANI)