Questions raised over Prasar Bharati’s content syndication policy, CEO allays concerns


PTI, Oct 19, 2021, 7:27 PM IST

New Delhi: A content syndication policy proposed by Prasar Bharati has come under fire from many quarters with questions being raised over the alleged auction of ”national treasures”, a charge denied by the public broadcaster’s CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati.

In a letter earlier this week, CPI(M) MP S Venkatesan wrote to the Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur stating that it is ”disgusting to note that monetization has gone to the level of marketing historical ‘treasures’ also”. ”It may have an adverse impact on polity as well as peace and tranquillity of this country,” he said.

Venkatesan accused the government of only looking at its short-term needs of managing fiscal deficit as the reason behind the move.

”It is not an issue of making money for the short term needs of the government to manage fiscal deficit but an important one that has long term consequences on the society,” he added.

Former Prasar Bharati CEO and TMC Rajya Sabha member Jawhar Sircar too questioned the move.

”What exactly is this ‘Auction’ of our nation’s priceless records? Clarify immediately!?” he tweeted.

Vempati took to Twitter to clarify the provisions of the proposed policy calling out detractors for ”misinterpreting” the document.

”There is no such decision. A recently notified policy for syndicating content rights seems to have been misinterpreted. These are specific legal aspects on Rights & Limitations that would be addressed in the License Agreements typical of any such Syndication. At this time only the broad policy has been notified. Detailed License Agreements will be part of eAuction Notification when they are held.

”Unfortunate comment by someone of your eminence and erudition Sir. It appears you have not read the Policy Document. Kindly peruse the same,” he said in tweets in response to the CPI(M) MP.

Writer and editor, Vijay Sai raised questions on copyright issues and asked who would get the royalties for the archival content.

”They can sell to whoever they want. Have they compensated the artistes whose works they plan to sell?! What about royalties?! What about copyrights?!,” he asked.

According to the notification issued by Prasar Bharati, the policy will ensure that its archival and premium content is syndicated to third parties through an open and transparent mechanism of e-auction in order to fetch the maximum market value of content on a demand basis.

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