In what can be seen as a gleeful moment for India and Doordarshan viewers in particular, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar has disclosed that India has signed agreements with Bangladesh and South Korea to telecast India’s state-run television channel, DD India. In return, BTV World, a television channel of the state-owned television network Bangladesh TV, would now be available for free on the DD Free Dish, the state-owned direct-to-home (DTH) free-to air platform. South Korea will show DD India and KBS World, a 24×7, English Channel of the South Korean Government, would be available on the DD Free Dish.
This development follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Prasar Bharti and Bangladesh TV (BTV). As per a ministry statement, BTV World would be of special interest to the viewers living in eastern India. Javadekar reportedly said, “We have decided to show BTV World, a channel owned by Bangladesh TV, on the DD Free Dish which will be available for the viewers of Doordarshan in our country. At the same time, DD India would be made available in Bangladesh.”
It is important to mention here that in the month of May, an Information and Broadcasting Ministry had met an important delegation from Bangladesh, which included Gowher Rizvi, adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Syed Muazzem Ali and the Bangladesh High Commissioner to India. The delegation met for an agreement on movie co-production and content sharing. It was decided that Prasar Bharati would co-produce a feature film directed by Shyam Benegal on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of the nation, and also a documentary on the Bangladesh Liberation War. Therefore, the association between Doordarshan and Bangladesh TV does not seem to be merely commercial but in encompasses the proximity in relations shared by the two countries. Both the countries seem to be using the agreement effectively in order to showcase the historical proximity between the two neighbours.
Union Minister Javadekar also said that KBS World, a 24×7, English Channel of the South Korean Government, would also be available on the DD Free Dish. He said, “We have entered into an agreement with South Korea also, where South Korea will show DD India and we will also allow South Korean KBS channel, it will be available in India. This mutual cooperation with neighbouring countries is very important.”
This seems like another shot in the arm for the state-owned television network of India. In fact, the Modi government has made it a point to restore the Prasar Bharti to its glory in the recent past. In 2018, the plans of Prasar Bharti to go digital came to light. In the month of February this year, DD India by Doordarshan emerged as the top English news channel in India after having beaten Republic TV. This was no mean feat since DD India came on top beating several heavily funded news channels. The channel made a surprise entry at the first position with ratings of 1503 for week 5 of this year. Republic TV slipped to the second position with ratings of 725. Times Now got the third position with ratings of 611. This can be seen as the first sign of Modi government’s success in reviving the Doordarshan television network to its past glory.
The Modi government has clearly made it a point to think out of the box in its efforts to revive the state-owned television network. It is not going to pass through motions and wait for a miracle to happen, the Modi government seems all set to stage a turnaround by working innovatively as far as Doordarshan’s revival is concerned. This step would go a long way in globalising DD India, paired with strengthened ties with foreign nations.