Sam Pitroda: Make Prasar Bharati accountable to Parliament

NEW DELHI: Batting for an autonomous status for the public broadcaster, Sam Pitroda-led panel on Friday suggested far-reaching changes including accountability of Prasar Bharati to Parliament instead of government, flexibility to use private sources of funding and monetizing its assets. Other recommendations include social media outreach and reviewing content on all existing channels of DD and AIR.

The report was submitted to information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari. He assured that the report would be 'seriously, studiously, diligently' examined. "They have just submitted the report to us. We will see as to how we can put a roadmap to action it."

He said the report would be put on the website for wider consultations. A meeting is scheduled next week to discuss it.

The expert committee under technocrat Pitroda was set up exactly a year ago. The committee, tasked with reviewing the institutional framework of Prasar Bharati, including its relationship with the government, acknowledged that it needs state funding and will therefore have to broadcast the government's 'messages and accomplishments of public interest'.

"Autonomy is a big issue," said Pitroda, advisor to the Prime Minister on public information infrastructure and innovation, at the event to release the committee's report. "Government does need a vehicle to promote its views and we have to take care of that. We can't take funding, have our autonomy and not have a separate independent mechanism for government to promote its own messages and welfare measures," he said, emphasising that the public broadcaster 'needs to look at public interest and not just government interest'.

Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar said autonomy meant 'freedom of options' which the broadcaster did not have at present.