Hindusthan Samachar one of several news agencies used by Prasar Bharati: Thakur
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Hindusthan Samachar one of several news agencies used by Prasar Bharati: Thakur

New Delhi, 17-March-2023, By IBW Team

Hindusthan Samachar one of several news agencies used by Prasar Bharati: Thakur

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) yesterday informed the Indian parliament that public broadcaster Prasar Bharati relies on multiple sources for news feeds and not a single entity.

Replying in Rajya Sabha (Upper House) to several queries that questioned whether it was true that Prasar Bharati recently signed an agreement with Hindusthan Samachar, allegedly close to ruling BJP’s parent RSS, as the sole source for daily news feeds, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur replied in the negative.

“No, Sir. Prasar Bharati has informed that they get news feeds from multiple sources, including Hindusthan Samachar, which is one of the agencies. Hindusthan Samachar was providing services to All India Radio and Doordarshan in 1970s, even before formation of Prasar Bharati. Based on requirement of All India Radio and Doordarshan, Prasar Bharati engaged the services of Hindusthan Samachar,” Thakur informed Rajya Sabha yesterday.

Spelling out the details of the agreement with Hindusthan Samachar, Thakur said Prasar Bharati initially signed the agreement with the agency on January 30, 2020 for two national and four regional language channels. Six regional services were provided news feeds on a complimentary basis for one year and the same was extended for further two years.

“The last agreement with M/s Hindusthan Samachar news agency was signed on 14.02.2023, which is effective from 14.02.2023 to 31.03.2025 for news feed for being utilized in the news bulletins and other programmes for TV, radio, digital and other modes of dissemination,” the Minister explained.

Holding forth on reasons for discontinuing the services of PTI and UNI news agencies by Prasar Bharati, Thakur termed those associations ‘ad hoc’.

“Prasar Bharati has informed that it availed the subscription to United News of India (UNI) and the Press Trust of India (PTI) services on the basis of an ad-hoc pro-rata arrangement from the year 2006 onwards. Prasar Bharati had informed UNI and PTI on 15.10.2020 that Prasar Bharati Board had decided to end the ad-hoc arrangement,” Thakur stressed.

Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body running the affairs of Doordarshan and All India Radio. Apart from the revenue it generates, the pubcaster annually gets financial assistance from the government.

To another question from Rajya Sabha MP Jawahar Sircar, a former CEO of Prasar Bharati, asking for details of  payments made by the national broadcaster to ANI news agency, Thakur said, “Prasar Bharati has informed that the initial contract with M/s. ANI Media Private Limited (ANI) for providing ANI Live feeds to DD News was for a period of three years effective from 01.08.2019 as per agreement signed on 27.07.2019, which was extended for a further period of two years.”

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