THE television boom continues unabated in India. While the government recently cleared dozens of news channels; many more are in the queue, which is increasing by the day. These channels cater to a variety of audience interested among other things in entertainment, politics, religion, business, travel, fashion, lifestyle, and even real estate. If nudity, family squabbles and extra marital relations have become the staple for entertainment channels, sensationalism, trivialisation of news and agenda based reporting have become the hallmark of most news channels. TRP ratings occupy the top priority as against objectivity and credibility. And what is most conspicuous by its absence is patriotism.
Anti-social and anti-national elements and voices get pride of place under the garb of freedom of speech and expression, little realising that such freedom exists only so long as the nation survives. Yet, national issues are sidelined in the mad pursuit for television rating points. A vacant polling booth in down town Srinagar in the wake of a Hurriyat boycott call would be highlighted at the expense of villagers queuing up to exercise their franchise at a less sensitive booth in the same Valley. Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar’s style and body language dominates the coverage as we ignore the hidden agenda behind those designer suits.
But there are some honorable exceptions also. The Sudarshan News Channel, for instance, is a nationalist and social channel focusing on news, talk shows, current affairs, health and yoga, social issues and cultural enlightenment. The channel, under the young, dynamic and visionary leadership of Suresh Chavhanke, was among the first ten national channels which was given special permission for news. Over the years, it has grown to be the fourth largest fully Indian owned television channel in the country.
According to Suresh Chavhanke, Sudarshan News is an ambitious project to highlight the richness of nation in terms of culture, nature, religion, and language.
Surdarshan TV has several firsts to its credit including 3D virtual motion effect sets. It is also the first tape less channel equipped with upgraded technology platform AF SBI. The channel has to its credit a first paper less news room and channel office apart form being a pioneer in news gathering from remote and rural locations on FTP. The channel extensively uses OB Vans and leased lines of optical fiber networks for news gathering. Sudarshan News has also adopted the latest MPLS technology.
According to Chavhanke, a major project of the channel is to ensure maximum participation of citizen journalists and Sudarshan plans to appoint one lakh such journalists across the country in the next three years, and in the process become the representative voice of the people. The channel has several popular programmes which have a wide audience all over the country. They include ‘Bindaas Bol’ a caller based interactive programme on topical issues of the day anchored by Chavhanke himself.
Sudarshan News is on a mission mode to widen its reach and network and is planning an IPO shortly to fuel its much-deserved expansion plans. More elbow strength to such nationalist entrepreneurs and enterprises.