June 30th 1995: US based Cable News Network today signed an agreement with India's state-owned broadcaster, Doordarshan.
In what is probably a first for a public broadcaster anywhere, Doordarshan will allow CNN the use of a transponder on India's INSAT 2B satellite for a round-the-clock news channel. Doordarshan will provide one-and-a-half hours of programming from Monday to Saturday, three hours on Sunday. CNN will air in the remaining 24 hours daily.
Both Doordarshan and CNN stand to benefit considerably. Doordarshan staff will receive training at CNN's Atlanta headquarters; CNN, so far much less popular than BBC's World channel (part of News Corp's STAR TV package), will get to improve its image among the world's single largest TV audience. CNN will have to considerably improve its content if it is to be anything but - to quote Rupert Murdoch - a channel for US businessmen abroad; right now, it has something on OJ Simpson every few minutes on the 'international' channel received in India. Surprisingly, Doordarshan will not censor any CNN programming; it will allow live broadcasts.
This agreement comes at a time when the BBC is not in the good books of the government, primarily due to a recent news broadcast when it (presumably by mistake) inserted footage of Russian soldiers in Chechnya to illustrate the burning of a shrine, apparently by militants, in Kashmir.
This agreement also comes a few months before the government announces the opening up of broadcasting to private companies, thanks to a Supreme Court ruling against the government monopoly earlier this year. For the full story, see the sample issue of the Indian Techonomist, my newsletter on India's information industry. See Freeing the airwaves, CNN makes new friends
TECHONOMIST COPYRIGHT NOTICE AND SUBSCRIPTION
(C) Copyright 1995 Deus X Machina, Rishab Aiyer Ghosh. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This article may be redistributed in electronic form only, provided that the article and this notice remain intact. This article may not under any circumstances be redistributed or resold in any non-electronic form, or for compensation of any kind, without prior written permission from Rishab Aiyer Ghosh (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This article is from the Indian Techonomist (http://dxm.org/techonomist/), the newsletter on India's information industry. Annual subscription (monthly print edition plus e-mail bulletins) is for US$ 595 or equivalent. For information, contact Rishab Ghosh by e-mail at email@example.com, call +91 11 2454717 or post to A4/204 Ekta Apts, 9 I.P. Extn, New Delhi 110017, INDIA.