Prasar Bharti is a statutory autonomous body. It was established under the Prasar Bharti Act 1990 and came into existence on 23rd November 1997. It is India’s largest public service broadcasting agency. The objectives of the Prasar Bharti are achieved by its comprising Units All India Radio and Doordarshan television network. Earlier it was under the Ministry of information and broadcasting and since 1997 it became constituents of Prasar Bharti. A. Surya Prakash is an existing chairman of Prasar Bharti.
Different services of Prasar Bharti
- All India Radio– All India Radio is India’s public service broadcaster. It is a unit of Prasar Bharti and serving to inform, educate and entertain to its public. its motto is “Bahujan Hitaya: Bahujan Sukhaya“. It is covering nearly 92% of India’s area and 99.19% of the population.
- Doordarshan- DD is India’s public service TV network. it is replacing its analogous transmitter to digital transmitter. Doordarshan has a three-tier service program- National, Regional, & Local.
- AIR News- AIR’s news service division is a radio news network of Prasar Bharti. It disseminates news in India and abroad in different languages. Today AIR puts more than 510 bulletins daily in 82 languages and dialects.
- DD News- DD news is Prasar Bharti’s TV news channel. it is the only terrestrial cum satellite news channel of the country. it was launched on 3rd November 2003 by replacing DD Metro to 24 hrs news channel. its reach is 49% by population & 25% by area. DD news currently producing its content in the language – Hindi, English, Urdu, and Sanskrit.
- DD Free Dish– the free dish is free to direct to home service of the Prasar Bharti. It receives TV services directly through satellite with a small personal antenna. It was launched in 2004 with 33 channels.
- DTT– Prasar Bharti has introduced Digital Terrestrial Transmission first time in India. At present Analogue TV, Transmitters serves 88% of the Indian population. For future concern and to increase its capacity of transmission India has adopted DVB standards for its digitalization. In 2008, the 2nd generation DVB T2 standard was launched. It has a high degree of capacity. It has been launched in 63 cities under XI & XII plan.
The Prasar Bharti Bill (1989):
- The Prasar Bharti bill was introduced in Parliament in May 1979 by the Janta regime. The bill is based on the Verghese Report of 1978 and the Prasar Bharti bill of 1979.
- The Prasar Bharti bill was in favor of creating a Broadcasting Corporation through an Act of Parliament. On the other hand, Verghese Report wanted a broadcasting autonomy to be a part of the Indian constitution.
- Verghese report against the Prasar Bharti bill for some reason because it was demanded to pattern the broadcasting system like BBC and Verghese report was against copying blindly the structure and organization of the west institutions.
- The current bill is closer to the Prasar Bharti bill of 1979 than to the Verghese report’s recommendation.
- The Bill became an Act in 1990 by the approval of all the parties presented in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
Prasar Bharti Act (1990) :
- Vardhan committee had re-examined the Prasar Bharti Act (1990). This committee suggested certain recommendations such as Doordarshan must devote its 20% of broadcasting time to social-related programs to each channel and dealing with any controversial issue a program presents its all viewpoints in an impartial manner. In this regard, the government took a step further and draw a National Media policy that will take questions in its account such as decentralization of TV, cross-media ownership, the role of advertising and up linking from India.
- Further, the Ram Villas Paswan committee was made in 1995 to look after the report. It submitted its 104 pages report with 46 recommendations on public & private electronic media, newspaper, news agencies, and film.
- The Sengupta committee was set up in 1996 to take another look at the Prasar Bharti Act and asked them to suggest amendments. It submitted its report on August 1996.
The broadcasting bill (1997):
- The broadcasting bill was introduced in May 1997. A joint parliamentary committee was constituted and headed by Mr. Sharad Pawar. This committee was created to have a glance on the controversial clauses such as licensing procedure, cross-media ownership, the extent of foreign equity to be permitted and up linking services for private satellite channels.
- This Bill made it compulsory for all the Indian and Foreign channels to transmit their programs from Indian territory.
- License for satellite channels was granted only to Indian companies and they allowed up to 49% of foreign equity.
- This bill has banned cross-media ownership. Newspaper publishing houses were allowed to have up to 20% equity in TV, cable companies and foreign ownership.
- In the direct response to the supreme court of India, the broadcasting bill was introduced to the central government in February 1995.
Broadcasting regulation bill (2007)
- The Draft Broadcast Regulation Bill (2007) acknowledge that the airwaves are public property and for that reason, it becomes important to use the airwaves in the national and public interest.
- This Bill suggested the establishment of The Broadcasting Regulatory Authority (BRAI) as an independent authority.
- The Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act was continued under this Bill.
- The public service obligations of Broadcasters under chapter 2(11)
- The share of content produced in India should not be less than 15% of the total content of a channel broadcast every week.
- The share of public service/social messages through advertisements should not be less than 10% of total content.
- The share of service/ socially relevant program content should not be less than 10% of the total content.
The content code :
The draft content of code came out by the Information and Broadcasting along with advertisers and broadcasters. They recommended all the programs would be slotted into three different categories.
- Universal (U)
- Under parental guidance (U/A)
- Adult (A) – if there would be a scene or portion in a program considered adult then the whole program must be considered as such. Adult programs are permitted only from 11 pm to 4 am, and U/A program can be on air after 8 pm.
A broadcast service provides (BSP) have to look after the content categories on the basis of its theme, treatment, subject matter, language, and audiovisual presentation for content regulation.
The content code provides a list of eight themes or subjects.
- Crime and Violence
- Sex, Obscenity, and Nudity
- Horror and Occult
- Drugs, Smoking, Tobacco, Solvents, and Alcohol
- Libel, Slander, and Defamation
- Religion and Community
- Harm and Offense
- Advertisements and General Restrictions.