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Freedom to airFreedom to air


The expert committee on Prasar Bharati, under the chairmanship of Sam Pitroda, has advised that Prasar Bharati should have administrative and financial autonomy. The committee sought the advice of approximately 100 people who were designated as advisors to the committee. So far so good. But, maybe Mr Pitroda is not aware that Prasar Bharati, which employs 32,500 people, already has absolute administrative and financial autonomy. The Prasar Bharati Act 1990 was brought in to unshackle Doordarshan and Radio from the bureaucratic whims of Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and show to the world that the public broadcaster of India is autonomous, both administratively and financially. The Chairman of Prasar Bharati Board Mrs Mrinal Pande, CEO Jawhar Sircar, Director-General Doordarshan Tripurari Saran and Director News S M Khan are all autonomous, administratively and financially. They work cohesively and coherently with complete autonomy where nobody listens to anybody. Mrinal Pande desires to run Doordarshan and AIR in her own way but is not able to do as nobody follows her advice. CEO Sircar is completely astonished in the way he is surrounded by officials and board members. Tripurari Saran’s term is ending. Khan is handling News. Manish Tiwari, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, has all intentions of improving the public broadcasting system for the better but he is running out of time as the Lok Sabha elections loom large. Meanwhile, the babu in the I&B Ministry does not know what to do with Doordarshan, as Pitroda talks autonomy but is not able to outline how this edifice can be financially viable and can be run without spoon feeding by the government. In such a scenario, one thing is sure – till the elections get over, Doordarshan and AIR are completely free and autonomous!

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