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Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games 2018: No coverage by All India Radio?

Commonwealth Games 2018: No coverage by All India Radio?
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Published: 24 March 2018 5:25 AM GMT
The ongoing tiff between the Ministry and Prasar Bharati may have some bigger consequences yet to be completely seen in action as, in a rare instance, All India Radio may not cover the Commonwealth Games. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has been at loggerheads with the management at Prasar Bharati for quite some time now over various issues but the most major one has been the appointment of a serving IAS officer as Member (Personnel) of Prasar Bharati. The Prasar Bharati Act of 1990 does not allow a serving bureaucrat to be appointed permanently in full-time positions within the organisation's core management.
There is bigger fish to be fried here, however. It is worth noting that both the Commonwealth Games and the Indian Premier League begin on April 4th. This would have been a glorious chance for the marginalised sporting community to, for once, grab the limelight over the dominant culture of cricket in India. With a majority of India's rural population still dependent on the radio, one wonders whether AIR not covering the event may have a massive bearing on awareness of sports other than cricket in the country. Moreover, veteran broadcasters not covering one of 2018's major multi-sport event cannot be good for any of the parties involved. Initial reports suggest that Prasar Bharati might ask All India Radio to cancel their bookings. Time is of essence here with barely 10 days left for the Games to begin. It must be noted that All India Radio has reported already paid a sum of close to 1.6 crore so far for broadcasting rights and booth bookings and a cancellation at this stage may lead to a major chunk of that money being lost. According to a
Times of India source
, 'All India Radio is likely to get back less than Rs 30 lakh as refund." This is a huge monetary loss. Since its tussle with the I&B Ministry, Prasar Bharati has been facing a huge financial crunch. This directive calling for All India Radio to cancel their coverage comes after AIR put in a request of an additional funding of Rs 50 lakhs to cover expenses for travel, bed & board for its 13-member team. As of now, even paying employees' salaries is a problem for Prasar Bharati. 'AIR has requested them to reconsider since it'll be difficult to explain the loss of over Rs 1 crore of public money. However, PB bosses feel that isn't AIR's problem and they will do the explaining if need be, an official was quoted as saying. They were scheduled to cover the opening and closing ceremonies and, among sports, hockey and badminton- events that India is expected to do well in.
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