New Delhi, Oct. 3: The Union cabinet today cleared a Prasar Bharati board recommendation to revive a Doordarshan news channel in a new avatar by shutting down DD Metro. The channel is to take off from November 3, well in time for Assembly elections due by the end of the year.
DD’s news channel will be the only one with a terrestrial reach and that makes it more accessible than its competitors in cable television. “The channel will provide unbiased and fair reports of live news as they occur,” the government has claimed.
Announcing the decision, Union parliamentary affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said the channel will involve an annual recurring expense of Rs 54 crore and non-plan grants of Rs 20 crore in the current year. The channel will be given budgetary support for two years after which it will have to fend for itself.
Prasar Bharati sources said the DD news channel will outsource about five hours of programming to producers not in the employ of the public broadcaster. When DD News was closed down last year, one of the reasons cited was irregularities in outsourcing programmes after allegations were made that Prasar Bharati was favouring a coterie of producers.
The DD News channel will replace DD Metro, the satellite and terrestrial channel from the public broadcaster that is aimed primarily at urban markets.