Rentier Broadcasters

Satelites Over South Asia:Brodcasting Culture And Public Interest
By David Page By William Crawley
sage Pages:455;Rs 250(PaperBack)
DID you know that Doordarshan, the much-reviled state broadcaster run by dull mandarins, boasts of the top 20 prime-time shows in India these days? At least, that is what the ratings mapping viewing trends in 29 million television homes in India would have us believe. DD's recipe for survival is simple: 'auction' its prime-time slots to private programme makers, who make the hits for them. So India's public broadcaster has become a rentier, selling space to private programmes, rather than making quality programmes. It's a sad epitaph for India's public service broadcasting. This confirms the worst fears of the authors in this well-researched book. The prairie fires of satellite television in South Asia have had both good and bad results. But does it make sense to leave broadcasting entirely to market forces in a state where as many as 40 per cent of the people are poor? The authors argue that the nation-state needs to play a greater role as a regulator to ensure that the public interest is safeguarded in the new media environment. They are dismayed by the fact that public broadcasters like DD have been divesting themselves of their responsibility and "allowing the terms of competition to be set by private channels". Isn't this just another example of the ineffectual state abdicating its basic responsibilities to the citizens in post-reforms India? To be sure, public service broadcasting is at the crossroads all over the world. In Britain, the annual flat tax of over a hundred pounds imposed on the citizenry to fund the bbc hits the poor. So what's the way out to keep a public service broadcaster alive and kicking? Replicating the model of Britain's 18-year-old £2 billion worth Channel 4, a public service operation which is allowed to advertise and plough back its profits into programming? Or a one-time tax on TV sets at the time of purchase to fund public interest programmes? Or simply reforming the notoriously corrupt and overmanned DD? The answer probably lies in a combination of all three. But India doesn't seem to be interested: first it throttled its radio, now it's killing state television. Who cares about public interest anyway?
READ MORE IN:
Next Story : India, Interpreted Anew
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Review
A veteran of our space programme tells a proud, brick-by-brick story of ISRO, built by a band of idealistic young scientists and keen international exchanges
MAGAZINE April 20, 2017
Review
The meaning of the most common term for something offering sensual and aesthetic pleasure is analysed to the bones by groups of expert professionals
MAGAZINE April 20, 2017
Excerpt
Travails rule the life of a shepherd who is in the bondage of a landlord. Celebrated Tamil writer Perumal Murugan revisits his thematic home of caste, class and oppression in this new edition.
MAGAZINE April 06, 2017
Excerpt
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s explosive debut novel Temporary People, a dystopian portrayal of life of Malayalis in the Gulf, has got rave reviews abroad and he is being hailed as the fresh, young voice in fiction. Here, first excerpts from the exceptional book.
MAGAZINE April 06, 2017
Review
The seductions and snares of nationalism are working at many frontiers in India. Last year’s charged, open-air lectures on it at JNU are a compelling read.
MAGAZINE March 30, 2017
read more>>>
Advertisement

OUTLOOK TOPICS :

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

or just type initial letters