| 24 Feb 2024
Strive for balance between public good, entertainment and business: MIB

NEW DELHI: Minister of Information and Broadcasting Smriti Zubin Irani today stressed the need to bridge the gap between meeting objectives of public good and entertainment in the broadcasting sector.

Delivering the Sardar Patel memorial lecture organized by All India Radio, Irani also stressed the need to keep abreast with the social media trends.

Minister of State of Rajyavardhan Rathore, Prasar Bharati Chairman A. Surya Prakash and Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi S. Vempati were also present at the lecture on 'Model of Broadcast: Landscape for Democracies'.

Even as she lauded the public broadcaster's endeavour to focus on public good, she said it was the duty of the public broadcaster to ensure that the news be told freely and fairly. The Minister called upon the public broadcaster to weave stories on the lives of ordinary people which could have an impact both within India and abroad. This would also enable it to weave information with the citizenry of the country.

She also called on broadcasters to give as much importance to the regional content as the National happenings. The Minister said, ''If we want the broadcasting landscape to be strong, the first and the foremost requirement is to give as much importance to the regional content as the national content. There is a need to reduce the gap between the regional news content and the national content.''

Irani said, ''If you look at the broadcasting sector, the overriding focus of the public broadcaster has been on serving the public good. In today's times, however, when news has become a spectacle sport, there is a need to bridge the gap between serving the public good and providing entertainment. While a certain section of the Media Space adhered to codes, ethics and conduct rules, the other segment was driven by rush for TRP’s, eyeballs thereby being influenced by the “Headlines competing with Hashtag”. This was extremely important in the light of the social media explosion taking place in the country which provided a new pathway for information dissemination.”

At the same time, she stressed the need for democratising the viewership measurement system in the country. ''There is a need to democratise the measurement system in the country,'' she said.

The model structure of broadcasting should focus on democratized viewership. This should be based on an accurate measurement system that reflects the strength of regional languages, varied tastes of viewers/consumers and bridges the divide on issues related to agenda setting, creative content and revenue between the mainstream and regional platforms.

Stressing the importance of the sector keeping abreast with the social media trends, Irani described the social media as a 'disruptive' force, and added, ‘‘The social media gives us new pathways of telling stories.''

Even as the broadcasting sector is based on business propositions and technological upgradation, the Mann ki Baat programme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was an ideal example of how a technology platform blended his message with citizen understanding and awareness of the issues highlighted by him in each episode.

The Minister said it would be the endeavour of the Ministry to promote the concept of “Design Thinkers” for content generation in the digital space in the light of the growing use of technology by the young generation in areas of internet, mobile content, animation and gaming. This would also incorporate the elements of the New India vision envisaged by the Prime Minister by 2022.

Highlighting the fulcrum strength of her Ministry,  Irani said that the Information Service officers profile would be strengthened in the future by giving them skill sets along with an integrated administrative exposure so as to enable them to serve policy and programmes of the people through the medium of information. This would be along the lines of Sardar Patel’s vision of creating a steel frame to serve the people through the channel of information dissemination.

The annual lecture was organized by the All India Radio as a mark of respect to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Minister of Information and Broadcasting.  These lectures were started in 1955 and the first Memorial lecture was delivered by Sri C. Rajagopalachari. In this series, the speaker in the previous year’s included Dr. Zakir Hussain, Shri Morarji Desai, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and other luminaries.