15 Dec 2017
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Prasar Bharati to enter Europe without being ‘jazzy’: Jawhar Sircar

MUMBAI: Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati is looking to expand its footprint in the European market by presenting the voice of India to international audiences while refraining from the sensationalism of private broadcasters.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar said that the pubcaster’s task is different from other private broadcasters as it does not believe in sensationalism.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar

“We have a different task cut out for us. Our mission is, was and will always be different. It’s not about competing with the private broadcasters. People still tune in to All India Radio (AIR) for news. However, when it comes to TV, we have got a bad licking because we aren’t jazzy enough,” he said.

Elaborating further at the panel discussion on ‘The future of journalism and the role of international broadcasters’ at Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn, he added that Doordarshan is not jazzy as it does not go the way of sensationalism, unlike the private broadcasters.

“Private media is led by TRP and has an obsession with sensationalism. In a heinous offence like rape, they tend to sensationalise it. Our standing dictum is—do not show the victim, do not sensationalise it. We pick up news of retribution against those who rape. And that is our mission. So we aren’t that jazzy, in the sense we aren’t that sensational,” he said.

Meanwhile, with regard to the pubcaster’s Europe plans, Sircar told PTI that its international forays have been made by private journalism to a small extent. “It is time for the public broadcaster to start thinking of collaboration with the best in the market and come out to present the voice of India or the voices of India. In fact, that is the reason why I am here,” he said. “The idea is that we are thinking in terms of going in for European penetration. Let’s see what happens.”

According to Sircar, AIR is a service that sends its voice to every corner of India. He added that India is a multi-ethnic country with 24 national languages, 600+ dialects and 1.3 billion in size.

“Holding them together in one commonwealth is our task. Knitting them together in some sort of unison and not standardisation is our task. We don’t believe in standardisation or homogenisation,” he added.

Stressing the role of AIR, he said that it offers, in every corner of India, a voice of its own. “In the small state of Manipur, which has a population of just three million, every day we broadcast in 30 languages. This feudal cultural equilibrium, if I may use the term, the tectonic plate settlement is a massive task,” he added.

He said that the pubcaster has succeeded with AIR (which does not have competition as private FM radio is not allowed to broadcast news in India). But on the TV front, it is playing second fiddle to Star, CNN and all the big boys.

“I am not sure whether we are wiped off because our ratings are pretty OK. The problem is one of identity. Are we a state broadcaster, or are we to go according to the act?” he signed off.