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India’s public broadcaster recently intervened to prevent the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting from closing down regional news units.

Early this month, the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting ordered the closure of seven regional news units under All India Radio’s domain.

The move was allegedly part of an attempt to restructure the news stations, which resulted in the proposed closure of 19 offices for All India Radio, Registrar of Newspapers for India, and the Press Information Bureau.

These changes were not welcomed by the offices affected and especially by the nation’s broadcaster Prasar Bharati, which reportedly was not consulted before the decision was made. The broadcaster instead confirmed its willingness to keep programming in every centre, requesting them not to follow the proposed closure and continue working as usual until further notice.

This intervention by the minister was considered to be undermining the broadcaster’s’ independence. “It is the Ministry’s prerogative to transfer its officials. However, it is up to the Prasar Bharati to ensure that there is no break in our programming,” said a senior official from the broadcaster.

A Ministry’s spokesperson said the changes were part of a streamlining effort and a way of reinventing the Press Information Bureau. “This was a good way of strengthening the PIB. The government has to keep reinventing itself and make better utilisation of resources,” he said.

Discussions will still take place, whilst many offices across the country are understaffed. Prasar Bharati is working to reverse the Ministry’s plans.