More autonomy for Prasar Bharati mooted

A panel headed by adviser to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovation Sam Pitroda has recommended allowing Prasar Bharati become “genuine” public broadcaster as against a “government broadcaster” by giving it a complete administrative and financial autonomy.

“It should be perceived as an unbiased, credible, autonomous, independent voice that makes Indians better citizens and enriches their lives with right information, quality entertainment and value education,” the report released here on Friday said.

The committee urged the government to make the public broadcaster directly accountable to Parliament through a legislative committee, instead of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The panel gave example of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), saying it was governed by a Trust and its independence was constitutionally backed by a Royal Charter as well as an agreement with the Secretary of Culture, Media and Sports of the United Kingdom,.

“We all agreed that the public broadcaster should look into the public interest and not necessarily at the government interest. Government interests are equally important, it should have flexibility to promote government interest either through separate budget but the government should use this infrastructure partly and use other infrastructure,” Pitroda told reporters.

 In its two volume report, the committee also suggested measures to develop Prasar Bharati into a globally acclaimed brand that can be as well known around the world as the BBC and CNN.

“We need to have a global player. We don’t have Indian version of the BBC. Today, there is no big source of dependable, reliable, credible news from India,” Pitroda said.

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