Two major bloopers in 15 days: Is DD failing as an institution?

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Doordarshan, India's public service broadcaster
At a time when public broadcaster, Doordarshan is trying to reinvent itself to compete with private broadcasters, two major bloopers within span of fifteen days has brought major embarrassment to the national broadcaster.

Ever since, it took the charge, the Modi Government is mulling to redefine the public broadcaster which is losing its charm and aura in the competitive world of digital technology.

Doordarshan anchor read Xi for Eleven
Few days ago, a news anchor at Doordarshan did a blunder after reading Chinese President Xi's name as Eleven. According to reports, she apparently got confused Xi's name with the Roman numeral XI.

Though, she was sacked immediately, the matter brought huge embarrassment to the public broadcaster.

Manmohan's visuals on Modi's US visit coverage 
And within a fortnight, the public broadcaster add to its recent howlers, it showed visuals of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in place of present PM Narendra Modi.

Sources told PTI that the "inadvertent error" happened in one of the late evening bulletins on Thursday when Doordarshan News carried Singh's visual instead Modi before introducing news-stories related to the Prime Minister's US visit.

Sources said the same visual was aired in some of other time slots as well.

Not only these, one of its correspondents while reporting on Kashmir floods reportedly used the words 'Islamabad' for 'Anantnag' and 'Sulaiman' hill for Shankaracharya hill.

These gaffe led to a wave of sarcastic comments on social media and thus, bringing more embarrassment to the channel who often is a matter of public ridicule for its poor production quality.

In a bid to shed responsibility, the senior official at DD are saying that the anchor was on casual basis. How can a public service broadcaster who is synonymous with national pride can go away by making such excuses. Doordarshan currently has 33,800 employees, the highest in the world and it can't go by making such silly excuses.

Doordarshan turning into an expensive behemoth
Doordarshan which had a modest beginning with an experimental telecast starting in Delhi on 15 September 1959, is turning out to be an expensive behemoth. Due to its below the mark content and out dated technology, its viewership has shrinked over the years.

Recently, a government-appointed expert committee, headed by technocrat Sam Pitroda in its findings pointed out that the DD is increasingly turning out to be expensive behemoth.

The report said,"Doordarshan and AIR have not been profitable since the inception of Prasar Bharati. In today's competitive scenario they have got increasingly marginalized. Their programming has become less and less attractive to the audience leading to a downward spiral in viewership, advertiser confidence and revenue share."

"The once healthy TRPs (television rating points) now struggle to be greater than one," said the report.

Here it is noteworthy to mention that Doordarshan has 33,800 employees, the highest in the world. While BBC has 16,858, Japan and China 10,000 each. Still it has below the mark content and programming.

About 11,000 staff are engaged in supporting the functioning of the remaining 20,000-roughly one support staff for every two staff members engaged on the programming or transmission work a ratio not likely to be found in any broadcasting organization," the report said.

DD needs a complete overhaul
Starting from sets, lighting, camerawork and content, DD needs a radical overhaul to keep pace with private television channels. And to bring in this change, efforts should be made towards changing the entire work culture and recruiting a host of new enthusiastic producers, programmers. The channel have to made young and exciting in nature which could create equal excitement among the viewers.

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