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Jawhar Sircar elected VP of Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union

MUMBAI: Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar has been elected vice-president of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).

Malaysia, Japan, Korea and India were the countries that won the election to presidency of the world’s largest TV and radio body, at Macau.

ABU is a non-profit, non-government professional association of broadcasters where India is a founder member since 1964 with AIR and Doordarshan. ABU has 264 members in 61 countries reaching a potential audience of 3.5 billion people, providing a forum promoting collective interests of TV and radio broadcasters internationally funded primarily by members.

It is the third largest of world’s eight broadcasting unions, representing largest geographic region in the world. Its sports department negotiates TV rights to major sporting events like the Olympics, Asian Games, Fifa World Cup and more.

However, in 2006 the relations between ABU and Prasar Bharati cooled owing to a variety of reasons such as lack of international cooperation and leadership. Consequently, Prasar Bharati, which contributes Rs 50 lakh annual subscription to ABU, was not even represented in ABU’s general assembly held in Tokyo, thus conceding the vacant seat of VP to Pakistan in 2010.

In addition, the sports rights which were earlier offered to Prasar Bharati on exclusive basis were unbundled and it was given only ‘free-to-air rights’ to accommodate ESPN. The reason was that there was no one to represent the public broadcaster when the ABU sports group body was discussing acquisition of rights to the Asian Games 2010.

In an attempt to regain lost glory and opportunities, Sircar led a three-member contingent to the Seoul general assembly in 2012 and got Doordarshan re-elected as a technical bureau member and AIR to ABU administrative council unanimously.

For the current Macau convention and general assembly, Prasar Bharati deputed Sircar, while the delegation comprised two members and an adviser.

Countries like Japan, China, Hong Kong and South Korea have over 40 delegates, while Malaysia has 30, Sri Lanka nine, Afghanistan eight, Bhutan five, Bangladesh seven, Mongolia seven, Thailand 35, Turkmenistan 15, Kazakhstan six and Singapore 13.