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DD Kashir to rethink anti-Pak propaganda

M Umar

Srinagar, July 14, 2008:

To boost its Television Rating Points (TRP), the state-run Doordarshan Kashir in Indian administered Kashmir is rethinking its strategy of telecasting anti-Pakistan propaganda programmes.

Director Doordarshan Kendra (DDK) Srinagar, Rafiq Masoodi said that by the end of this month there would be a sea change in the content of the channel.

According to DDK officials, the channel is losing viewership due to the "hard to digest” anti-Pakistan programmes it telecasts.

Masoodi said the channel had suffered viewership owing to many things which also include hardcore propaganda programmes that he added needed immediate revision.

“We have realised that these programmes are hard to digest as a result of which people are drifting away from the Kashmir channel," he said.

DD Kashir which beams programmes like Sarhad Key Do Rukh (Two faces of border), Pakistan Reporter, PTV Sacch Kya Hai (PTV! what is truth) has always seen by viewers as New Delhi's tool of hypocrisy and often rejected straightway by the people of Kashmir.

In Kashmir, Pakistan media has for years remained popular and all items broadcast or telecast from these stations used to be considered a gospel.

Concerned over the popularity of Pakistani media, the Indian I&B Ministry recently asked Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) New Delhi, to carry a research project on the cross-border media in Kashmir.

Even as the Director Doordarshan realises that these anti-Pakistan propaganda programmes serve no purpose, the final decision has to come from New Delhi.

"Surely such programmes are not digested here. These are sponsored from outside. Removing them is not in my power," Masoodi said.

However Masoodi said he has recommended altering the content and the way of presentation of these programmes.

Masoodi discussed this issue with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Prasar Bharati, Baljeet Singh Lalli, who was in Kashmir in May.

He said that the Kashir channel, which is facing a stiff competition from about 50 regional cable channels will soon get a fillip.

"We cannot sit idle. We can no more afford to lose our valuable viewers. Time has come for a change," Masoodi said.

Kashir channel also plans to create its own electronic shelf by introducing people oriented programmes which include chat shows, musical operas, packages, and several other programmes missing in its slot.

It also intends to hit Kashmir’s youth through several youth tilting programmes.

Instead of people coming to DDK Srinagar, the director said that the channel would soon get an Outside Broadcasting (OB) van, which would reach to people of far flung areas.

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