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Prasar Bharti ends its PTI subscription; to invite subscriptions from other agencies

BusinessToday.In     October 16, 2020

India's largest public service broadcasting agency, Prasar Bharti has culminated its subscription to the news agency, Press Trust of India and will invite fresh proposals from other domestic news agencies including PTI and UNI. A letter to PTI and UNI has been sent in this regard.

Prasar Bharti decided to put an end to its "current ad-hoc pro rata arrangement for the PTI subscription" four months after the agency was accused of being unfair and not in sync with national interest in its coverage of the India-China border conflict.  

Prasar Bharti and PTI have been at loggerheads since June when the national broadcaster had sent a "strong letter" to PTI ahead of its board meeting, according to an IANS report. The letter stated that the PTI's editorial stance makes it implausible to "continue the relationship". This came soon after the news agency interviewed the Chinese ambassador, Sun Weidong, wherein he said, "The incident was completely instigated by the Indian side and the responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side."

Centre claims that Prasar Bharti has been "supporting PTI with huge financial fees" which often ran into crores. The national broadcaster is one of the biggest subscribers of the agency and pays it Rs 6.75 crore on an annual basis.

It, however, insisted that PTI was "rigid on the review" of this ad-hoc pro rata arrangement since 2016-17.  This is not the first time that PTI and the government have been at odds. Few years back, Union Minister Smriti Irani had accused PTI of using a wrong image of a flooded airport, that it passed off as Ahmedabad airport in flood-hit Gujarat.

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