Prasar Bharati, Centre on collision course
Why in news?
The Prasar Bharati Board on Thursday will discuss a proposal of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to appoint an IAS officer as a board member, giving it a larger say in the working of the autonomous public service broadcaster.
- It is learnt that Surya Prakash, who was recently reappointed Prasar Bharati Chairperson, is likely to red-flag the appointment as it is in contravention of two clauses of the Prasar Bharati Act
- It does not mention any specific name. The member (personnel) is responsible for all the personnel and administrative matters concerning the public service broadcaster
- Clause 4(1) of the Act says the Chairman and all the members of the board are to be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Vice-President, the Chairman of the Press Council of India and a nominee of the President.
- Clause 6(2) says the member (personnel) “shall be whole-time member” and Clause 6(7) says whole-time members shall be the employees of the corporation.
- The Ministry had advertised the post twice last year. The first was in June and the next in August.
- The Ministry’s proposal is clearly to have a better control over the autonomous body, which completely defeats the purpose of having an independent organisation,
- The board will deliberate on a proposal to appoint the journalists Siddharth Zarabi and Abhijeet Majumder in editorial positions.
- One of the board members told that It is not under the board’s jurisdiction to make such a suggestion to the government when there is an Act that clearly lays down the method to make such an appointment. The proposal seeks to bypass the office of Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu and if such a resolution is cleared, it will denigrate his position
- Prasar Bharati is Indian Public Service Broadcaster and it is India’s largest public broadcasting agency.It is an autonomous body set up by an Act of Parliament and comprises Doordarshan Television Network and All India Radio, which were earlier media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- The Parliament of India passed the Prasar Bharati Act to grant this autonomy in 1990, but it was not enacted until 15 September 1997.
- Shashi Sekhar Vempati is the current chairperson of Prasar Bharati and Jawhar Sircar was the CEO till November, 2016
Prasar Bharati Act
- The Prasar Bharati Act provides for establishment of a Broadcasting Corporation, to be known as Prasar Bharati, to define its composition, functions and powers.
- The Act grants autonomy to All India Radio and Doordarshan, which were previously under government control.
- The Act received assent of President of India on 12 September 1990 after being unanimously passed by Parliament. It was finally implemented in November 1997.
- By the Prasar Bharati Act, all property, assets, debts, liabilities, payments of money due, all suits and legal proceedings involving Akashvani (All India Radio) and Doordarshan were transferred to Prasar Bharati.
Functions and Objectives
The primary duty of the Corporation is to organise and conduct public broadcasting services to inform, educate and entertain the public and to ensure a balanced development of broadcasting on radio and television.
The Corporation shall, in the discharge of its functions, be guided by the following objectives, namely:
- Upholding the unity and integrity of the country and the values enshrined in the Constitution.
- Safeguarding the citizen’s right to be informed freely, truthfully and objectively on all matters of public interest, national or international, and presenting a fair and balanced flow of information including contrasting views without advocating any opinion or ideology of its own.
- Paying special attention to the fields of education and spread of literacy, agriculture, rural development, environment, health and family welfare and science and technology.
- Providing adequate coverage to the diverse cultures and languages of the various regions of the country by broadcasting appropriate programmes.
- Providing adequate coverage to sports and games so as to encourage healthy competition and the spirit of sportsmanship.
- Providing appropriate programmes keeping in view the special needs of the youth.
- Informing and stimulating the national consciousness in regard to the status and problems of women and paying special attention to the upliftment of women.
- Promoting social justice and combating exploitation, inequality and such evils as untouchability and advancing the welfare of the weaker sections of the society.
- Safeguarding the rights of the working classes and advancing their welfare.
- Serving the rural and weaker sections of the people and those residing in border regions, backward or remote areas.
- Providing suitable programmes keeping in view the special needs of the minorities and tribal communities.
- Taking special steps to protect the interests of children, the blind, the aged, and the handicapped and other vulnerable sections of the people.
- Promoting national integration by broadcasting in a manner that facilitates communication in the languages in India; and facilitating the distribution of regional broadcasting services in every State in the languages of that State.
- Providing comprehensive broadcast coverage through the choice of appropriate technology and the best utilization of the broadcast frequencies available and ensuring high quality reception.
- Promoting research and development activities in order to ensure that radio broadcast and television broadcast technology are constantly updated.
Q. The chairman of Prasar bharati is aoppointed by
- Prime minster
- Chief justice of India
Answer: a.) president