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Doordarshan to launch news channel for NRI’s

Doordarshan India is planning the launch of a news channel to target Asians living internationally in countries like the UK, Europe and the States.

The the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and Prasar Bharati has mooted a proposal to launch a global Diaspora media channel for people of Indian origin (PIOs) world over.

The demand arose after several participants at the Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) 2006 in Hyderabad expressed the need for a channel that highlighted consciousness of “cultural heritage and India’s plurality”.

“While there are private channels that are available to Indians abroad, the government should also have dedicate content for the growing and influential numbers abroad,” an overseas affairs official said.

The proposal has been discussed with Prasar Bharati officials, who already have DD Abroad that has been running for some time now. “We have discussed the possibility of a new channel.

Prasar Bharati is analysing the kind of content that is already available to DD Abroad and we should come to a decision in time,” S K Arora, information and broadcasting (I&B) secretary said.

Officials said that DD Abroad programming would have to be analysed and reworked. “There is no homogeneous group of Indians for whom programming can be created.

There are south Indians in Philippines or the Gulf, who have more in common with those people living in Kerala or Karnataka as compared to Indians in UK, who would be closer in culture and ethos to north Indians,” a senior official said.

The other problem that is likely to come up is the different time zones. The programming would have to coordinate content depending on different time zones for Indian residents abroad.

There was fair bit of speculation last year that Doordarshan was to launch its DD India channel in the UK. Even though this has not been ruled out, looks likely DD Abroad could launch sooner. Coincidently, South Asia World was launched on Sky Digital last year to target the same audience as DD Abroad. South Asia World has now been replaced with a live feed of CNN-IBN.