Bilingual DD News to give way to separate Hindi, English channels.
New Delhi: With a majority of the BJP’s Lok Sabha seats in 2014 coming from the Hindi heartland, the Narendra Modi government is set to launch a dedicated Doordarshan News Hindi channel to reach out to the masses in this region.
The proposed 24-hour news channel, scheduled to be launched by year-end, will cater to audiences in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajas-than, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Chhattisagarh, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, pockets of Punjab and Hindi-speaking population in other states.
Together these states alone amount to about 238 Lok Sabha seats.
For the BJP, which had won 282 seats in 2014, the launch of a separate DD News channel will help it shape the narrative for the Lok Sabha elections and publicise its welfare schemes.
Along with the Hindi channel, Doordarshan will also launch an English channel. These two channels will replace DD News, the dedicated news channel of the state broadcaster, which telecasts news in both Hindi and English. It was felt that due to its bilingual status, DD News channel was unable to have a dedicated viewership.
“How can dedicated viewership evolve if the channel switches from airing Hindi to English at prime time. It is unheard of across the globe,” a source said.
While Hindi news is aired first, in the 8-9 pm slot, the slot for English news is later, 9-10 pm.
It was also pointed out that this is a unique practice in the country, and perhaps even in the world. No private channel airs news in different languages.
Sources stated that though the proposal to establish a separate Hindi and English news channel for the national broadcaster was mooted by the BJP government soon after it came to power in 2014, it is going to become a reality just months ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It is learnt that the decision to push for two separate news channels was made so as to help enable the national broadcaster reach the masses with more accuracy.
The decision to have a separate DD News for serving Hindi audience was taken as this language has the highest number of speakers in the country (over 400 million), sources stated.
The English language channel will reach out to viewers in other states, sources added.
It is learnt that the newsroom of DD News is set to go completely digital in the next few weeks. Digital technology will to be used for broadcast of news and live events which is expected to improve the quality of broadcast, sources added.