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Panel to Decide on Ways to Merge RS, LS TV Channels

November 09, 2019 05:20 AM

To work out modalities and prepare guidelines for pooling resources, manpower and tech

New Delhi:

The government has constituted a six-member committee for the merger of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV with a view to cut costs and reduce extra spending on coverage of parliamentary proceedings.

Officials said the panel will examine all relevant issues pertaining to the merger, including proposing an appropriate name for the new integrated channel. The Rajya Sabha secretariat issued an order on November 7, notifying a committee comprising Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash; A Rao, additional secretary to RS secretariat; Ganpati Bhatt of Lok Sabha secretariat; joint secretary Shikha Darbari, who is financial advisor to RS TV; and CEOs of RS TV and LS TV Manoj Kumar Pandey and Aashish Joshi respectively, to “work out the modalities and prepare the guidelines for pooling resources, manpower and technology for merger of Lok Sabha TV and Rajya Sabha TV”.

The committee will decide if live proceedings of both houses should be continued, and the feasibility of doing so as one integrated channel to ensure appropriate coverage of both houses. “If not feasible, what is the best way to avail the best out of both channels keeping in view the parliament functions for only 70 days in a year,” said the order.

It said the committee will work on 14 broad tasks, mainly to form a working outline for the integrated channel, review the existing content and examine the need for news bulletins on the new channel, its standard operating procedure and editorial hierarchies, along with rationalisation of workforce, technical and production teams, budgetary provisions, required transfers, location of studios and news rooms.

Before the LS TV was launched in 2006, when Somnath Chatterjee was the Speaker, private television channels aired select Parliament proceedings. In 2011, RS TV was launched under the chairmanship of Hamid Ansari, with a budget of Rs 100 crore and a budgetary allocation of 500 people.The decision to merge the channels launched during the UPA rule has not gone down well with the opposition. Former information and broadcasting minister Anand Sharma of the Congress said, “The government wants to control the TV channels directly by this merger, and by excluding the opposition”.

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