It’s pointless pushing TV to serve national causes3 min read . Updated: 10 Nov 2022, 10:57 PM IST
Flicking through the fare on our TV screens would show that most channels are trying hard anyway. Do we also need a sarkari diktat on devoting half an hour to the national interest?
In black-and-white days, as millennials can confirm with grandparents, almost everything that appeared on moving screens in India was in the national interest. State-run Doordarshan had a monopoly on telecasts, so good farming practices got priority, while the risk of deviant fare in movie halls was balanced with must-run ‘news reels’ to acquaint even escapists with the nation’s progress. But then a satellite invasion took this idyll apart and tiny screens with internet access blew to bits and bytes the idea of a ‘national audience’. Since it’s no point blaming Apple’s brand vision circa 1984 for these splinters, the state has taken what it probably sees as a practical approach. It has been in pursuit of its own regulatory solutions. This week, India’s government declared a new rule. All broadcasters that reach Indian TV screens must deliver half an hour of daily fare in the national interest. This is reported to have foxed many. Some may have assumed that’s what they were doing anyway. Others would wonder what might pass that test. But then, like in the old B&W days, when rooftop antennas had to be twisted for better reception, perhaps clarity will prevail with some trial and error.