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Expert panel favours total autonomy for Prasar Bharati

Government-appointed committee recommends a third arm for new emerging media

Making out a strong case for granting total autonomy to Prasar Bharati, a government-appointed expert committee has recommended amendments to the Prasar Bharati Act, 1990 to give “effective freedom to the public broadcaster with administrative and financial powers.”
It calls for reorganisation of the Prasar Bharati Board to make it a professionally managed body effective in guiding the organisation. The committee also strongly batted for the use of social media by Prasar Bharati “which can be implemented immediately” and defining a social media strategy for the organisation.
It has called for setting up of a ‘Prasar Bharati connect’ as a third arm of the public service broadcaster independent of the Doordarshan and All India Radio and mandate it to manage the various social media initiatives of the organisation.
Headed by Sam Pitroda, the committee has said a funding mechanism should be developed for Prasar Bharati to address the need for autonomy with financial accountability. The report was presented to Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari here on Friday.
“Enough discussions on these recommendations have taken place and I hope we start implementing some of them if not all of them. We cannot wait for too long to start implementation,” Mr. Pitroda told reporters while releasing the report.
The committee, tasked with reviewing the institutional framework of Prasar Bharati, including its relationship with the government, has acknowledged that it needs state funding and will therefore have to broadcast the government's “messages and accomplishments of public interest”.
Another of the expert committee's major recommendations is monetising Prasar Bharati’s assets, including vast tracts of land across the country where the shortwave radio transmitters that are no longer used were set up.

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