Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Doordarshan (India) Launches a New Urdu Channel

A new Urdu channel launched by Doordarshan (the official television channel of the Government of India). Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh launched the new channel on the occasion of the 59th Independence Day of India, August 15, 2006, in New Delhi.



Beginning this Independence Day, an Urdu channel will be offered from Doordarshan's stables. Slated for launch by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday evening, the channel goes on air a good eight-and-a-half months behind schedule.

Keeping a commitment made in Parliament to repeated requests from across the political spectrum for an Urdu channel from the Doordarshan platform, the then Union Information and Broadcasting Minister S. Jaipal Reddy had in June 2005 announced that it would be launched on January 1, 2006. In fact, fund allocation had also been made in the 2005-06 Budget. However, problems in software availability and "general inertia" delayed the launch of the channel.

With the powers that be at Doordarshan deciding that DD-Urdu will be a public service channel, software availability continues to be a problem.

To begin with, DD-Urdu will be on air for seven-and-a-half hours with only two-and-a-half hours of fresh programming in the evening. This will be repeated twice the following day.

The content will be a mixed bag; part entertainment, part news and part information. Daily, the channel will air a news magazine christened `Imroze'. Also, film director Muzaffar Ali has been commissioned to produce a 52-episode programme on Urdu litterateurs.

Besides, the in-house production team has put together a film-based programme, and a cultural round-up has been prepared for the channel by ANI TV. Add to this, B. R. Chopra's serial "Bahadur Shah Zafar" of 1986 vintage. Doordarshan officials said the public broadcaster had floated tenders to acquire more Urdu programmes.

(Report courtesy, The Hindu)


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