Development Broadcasting in India and Beyond
The article titled “Development Broadcasting in India and Beyond: Redefining and old mandate in an age of media globalization” has been written by Elfriede Fursich and Seema Shrikhande and appeared in Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media in its March 2007 issue. The authors attempted to discuss the challenges faced by public broadcasting agencies in most of the Asian countries in the wake of the increasing pressures from the emergence of other commercial channels which have taken much of the space on television as well as radio.By discussing the example of Doordarshan- India’s official broadcasting channel, authors concluded that in the current of wake of current globalization and commercialization of media, public broadcasting have to be intervened by the relevant stakeholders. Authors further argued that through developing third way centers of broadcasting, not only local support and presence can be gathered up to ensure their survival however due to funding problem such channels may also not survive.
As such authors concluded that in order to survive, public broadcasting has to carve out its own distinct identities which is free from substantial government influence and control. Major Strengths of the Article India has one of the largest populations in the world therefore it also offers a very unique opportunity to analyze the development broadcasting in its true concepts of public welfare. As such the choice of the sample provides much added flexibility as well as reach in order to assess the impact of public broadcasting.Further, as authors have quoted that the India’s media system is one of the intensely studied models in the world as it not only grew commercially but has successfully maintained its position in the international markets.
Authors have been successful in presenting a comprehensive history of how the development media took place and the different actors involved in projecting the role of media as a tool for the development.The increasingly complex nature of the media and its impact on the general public therefore has forced governments to take greater control of television therefore public broadcasting media evolved as a strongly censored media. This however ensured consistent sources of government funding to such media and as such the relay of the contents from public broadcasting was largely considered as favorable to the government.What is however a greater strength of this article is the comprehensive attempt to show the response of DD against the increased commercialization of the Indian Media and draws conclusion which radically demand a complete shift into the way the existing models of development broadcasting need to work if they are willing to survive and prosper in the future.This article therefore has been successful in clearly outlining how the existing development media is exploited not only in the third world countries but also in West as political influence and governmental control and links virtually force such channels to bend in favor of such forces and therefore digress from their mandate as they often represent the political interests of a certain group.It is also important to mention that the authors have been successful in citing example from cross border experiments and have successfully build on a case which advocates how the developmental broadcasting model should function under the changing situation and socio-political changes that are taking place.
The examples cited from Western Media clearly establish the case of the authors in assessing the fact that the Development media has increasingly come under political and bureaucratic pressures and is markedly deviating from the assigned mandate of imparting upon education and other important issues related with development. Weaknesses of the Article The major weaknesses of this article include its too narrow focus on taking DD as a case study despite the fact the very function of the developmental broadcasting has always been the education.As per this criteria DD has done very well as it has been successful in delivering the contents which have basically improved upon or corroborated other efforts on the part of the Indian Government to speed the process of development in the country. Authors therefore have also failed to outline the welfare impact of the development broadcasting and rather focused on how public broadcasting entities can compete against the increased commercialization.
It is also critical to understand that the authors have also failed to understand the fact that the commercial benefits of the programming produced largely depend upon the perceived benefits to be driven by the consumers and as such if consumers perceive that the commercial channels do not provide them the required utility which they were driving from watching public broadcasting channels, they may switch again to such channels and as such development broadcasting through public media does not need to innovate to a greater length and only have to focus on delivering contents which provide full utility to the viewers.Further, the nature of the commercial production is relatively global in nature which mostly focuses on highlighting the cultural aspects of a culture which potentially do not belong to the culture under study therefore if MTV is relaying its contents in India, it does not mean that what is being shown will be readily accepted as people show strong resentment against such programs with relatively higher degree of nudity etc. as such the acceptability of commercial media as an alternative of the developmental media under government control may not be as intense as it may be perceived.Further, suggesting an alternative model of development media based on the studies conducted in India may not represent the true nature of the development broadcasting as the socio-political as well as geographical elements may not provide the advantage which they are offering to India in this case therefore the universal applicability of any such model may not be an empirically valid possibility and as such such model may not provide the required results.Conclusion The authors of this essay have successfully demonstrated as to how the development broadcasting has evolved over the period of time and how it can compete with the increased commercialization witnessed due to emergence of new media channels.
By taking a case study of DD from India, authors stressed the need for introducing a new model of development broadcasting which is much more flexible to accommodate the increasing pressures of the Globalization.However, what is lacking from this article is the fact that the viewership of the media channels largely depends upon the value to be driven by the consumers and as such if the contents delivered are in conflict with their values, they may not prefer to watch them. As such the authors have failed to take into account the welfare economics side of development broadcasting.