With India’s neighbour Pakistan featuring in the top digital audience of DD and All India Radio of Prasar Bharati, let us look at some stats revealed by the latter as well as one notable incident regarding India, Balochistan, Pakistan and All India Radio.
Crux of the Matter
Before We Start
Prasar Bharati is the statutory autonomous body functioning as India’s Public Service Broadcaster. It consists of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD).
100% Digital Growth
- Digital channels of Prasar Bharati registered more than 100% growth in 2020.
- Prasar Bharati app (NewsOnAir) added more than 2.5 million users in 2020 as well as received more than 300 million views.
- Channels across Doordarshan and Akashvani received more than 1 billion digital views.
- Most popular digital videos included Prime Minister’s interactions with school students, Republic Day parade 2020 and a rare video of mathematician Shakuntala Devi from DD National archives.
Audience From The Neighbourhood
- Pakistan was the 2nd largest “digital audience” for DD and AIR content after people inside India.
- The US was the 3rd largest digital audience.
- One notable incident of AIR also associated with Pakistan and its annexation of Balochistan.
Balochistan In 1947
- As per the Foreign Policy Centre of the UK, most of Balochistan was known as Kalat before 1947.
- Remained independent for 7 months after Indian independence and partition in 1947.
Infamous Menon Declaration
- 27 March 1948: V P Menon, Secretary in Ministry of States, made a statement on All India Radio.
- Menon claimed that Kalat “was pressing” to join India but the latter rejected it.
2 versions exist:
- King of Kalat had never discussed joining India and was in touch with both India and Pakistan to prevent invasion from the latter.
- Kalat wanted independence but asked to join India amidst Pakistani threat, which India rejected.
- Either way, the damage was done.
- Sardar Patel immediately denied that any such request was put, and so did PM Nehru.
- However, it proved a bit too late, as the AIR broadcast was heard by King of Kalat and also reported by Pakistani Government.
- In less than a week, Pakistani Army annexed Kalat and captured the King.
Balochistan has since been a part of Pakistan. However, both share a strained relationship due to reported violent suppression by the latter continuing even today.
- The Prasar Bharati Act provides for the establishment of a Broadcasting Corporation, to be known as Prasar Bharati, and define its composition, functions, and powers. The Act received the assent of the President of India on 12 September 1990 after being unanimously passed by Parliament. It was finally implemented in November 1997.
- Akashvani is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘celestial announcement‘ or ‘voice from the sky/heaven‘. ‘Akashvani’ was first used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswami in 1936 after setting up India’s first private radio station in his residence; Akashvani was later adopted as All India Radio’s on-air name in 1957; given its literal meaning in Sanskrit, it was believed to be a more than a suitable name for a broadcaster.
- Krishi Darshan debuted on Doordarshan on 26 January 1967 and is Indian television’s longest-running program. In 2015, it was shifted from DD National and airs on DD Kisan, but also airs on the former channel.