TAMIL NADU

`Cable operators not beaming required number of DD channels'

CHENNAI NOV. 13. The public service broadcasting was today facing crisis owing to pressures from vested interests, according to N.G. Srinivasa, Deputy Director General (Southern Region), All India Radio and Doordarshan.

At a Public Service Broadcasting Day function organised by the Broadcast Engineering Society here on Wednesday, Mr. Srinivasa pointed out that in spite of research and installing of equipment at the stations to strengthen signals, Doordarshan was way behind other broadcasters due to poor distribution by cable TV operators. The operators, in violation of the Cable TV Act, were not beaming the minimum required number of Doordarshan channels. Legislations helped only to some extent; what was necessary was awareness and public pressure on cable distributors, Mr. Srinivasa said.

The conditional access system was a well-construed concept, giving viewers an option to choose channels, but it had to be implemented after plugging loopholes.

As the corporation enjoyed semi-autonomous status, it was facing many obstacles, including bureaucracy. "We have to look at many considerations and nuances before covering a programme live. By then, the event would have been over".

Besides, good television rating points and channel share had not translated into revenue. The corporation should customise its programmes and concentrate on innovative ones to rake in a fair share of the Rs. 4,000 crore TV advertisement market.

Mrutyunjay Sarangi, Chief Electoral Officer, said the broadcasting media was used in a big way for introduction of electronic voting machines. In the last Assembly elections, 54, 900 machines were put to use and the department did not receive any complaint from voters regarding handling of the machines.

He came down heavily on certain private channels who aired "objectionable materials and dirty propaganda" as a run up to elections and cited instances of the Dharmapuri bus burning and the Tamiraparani police lathicharge. P.V. Vaidyanathan, former Vice-Chancellor, Annamalai University, traced the history of the All India Radio and its first live broadcast. With the advent of FM channels, the radio, which had lost out in the race with television, was making a comeback.

P. Mohanadoss, Chairman, Broadcast Engineering Society, and K.Subramanian, secretary, spoke.