Modi govt to launch BBC-like intl channel to push India agenda

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati told that the idea of having an international presence for Doordarshan was "long overdue"

New Delhi: At a time when it is facing severe backlash for its mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis in the international media, the Modi-led central government is in plans to launch a BBC-like channel to establish an international voice for India, reports said.

The invitation for Expression of Interest (EOI) was already floated on May 13.

Prasar Bharati, the national public broadcaster, is likely to establish “DD International”, Indian Express reported, quoting officials who said that invitation of tenders is not a knee-jerk reaction and the idea has existed for a long time.

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According to the report, the EOI stated: “In view of the strategic objective to build a global presence for Doordarshan and to establish an international voice for India, it is envisaged to establish DD International”.

Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati told Indian Express that the idea of having an international presence for Doordarshan was “long overdue”, comparing it to the “first iteration of BBC or Al Jazeera“. He also said that “at this point, it will be more news-oriented, like BBC World Service” but can later “evolve”.

“The idea is to get a strategy roadmap in six to eight months,” he is quoted as saying, but “due to the uncertainty arising from the pandemic” it will be delayed by a few weeks or months.

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