Prasar Bharti ends ad hoc arrangement with PTI, UNI; to call for fresh bids from news agencies

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Public broadcaster Prasar Bharati on Thursday decided to end its present subscription with news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) and United News of India (UNI), and push for fresh contracts.

According to a person aware of the developments, the formal contract between Prasar Bharati and PTI had come to an end in 2006, after which payments and service continued in an ad hoc manner.

The board of the Prasar Bharati, which runs All India Radio and Doordarshan, had sought a fresh contract with PTI; however, in its absence, the previous arrangement continued.

“In a meeting on Thursday, it was decided that fresh contracts would be signed with news agencies. PTI and UNI can also participate in these bids… Prasar Bharati has now decided to call for fresh proposals for a digital subscription to English text and related multimedia services from all domestic news agencies,” said the person cited above.

Significantly, Prasar Bharati had expressed displeasure over PTI’s coverage with regard to the news agency’s interview of Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong following the Galwan clash.

The pending formal contract has been an issue between Prasar Bharati and PTI in the past as well, and Prasar Bharati had reduced the amount that it used to pay the news agency.

“It has been decided not to spend public money on an ad hoc basis. A contract is needed to justify expenditure, especially keeping in mind the social media needs of current platforms,” said the person cited above.

The subscription for PTI was about Rs 9 crore per year which was later reduced by Prasar Bharati.

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