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India TV To Focus On People-Centric Information

Come March 21 and India TV, the television channel, equally loved and criticised by the classes and masses alike, would unveil its completely new side to viewers.

Avoiding sensationalism, the channel would now focus on direct news and people-centric information, says India TV Chairman Rajat Sharma.

"After 16 years of continuous work, I took a year off and travelled all over the country. The feedback I gathered from my 'learning yatra' was that people wanted more direct news, less of politics, no superstition and no speculative news items. We kept these things in mind while redesigning our channel," Sharma told PTI.

"Lots of questions were being asked about our programming in the media, society and even in my friends circle... so I decided to travel and seek the views of the common man in order to educate myself," Sharma said.

He said the new programmes designed by his team is a middle path undertaken by him.

"Initially when we started out in 2004, it was like an ideal channel, we focused on child welfare, animal welfare, did investigative journalism. We had Maneka Gandhi and Tarun Tejpal with us. However, I realised that the market perception differed from our perception and we changed track due to market pressure," the veteran journalist added.

Asked about the controversies surrounding the channel especially in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks when India TV was sent a notice by the Government for showing live conversations with terrorists, Sharma said "it was a learning experience for not only reporters but also for the government".

"Everybody learnt and accepted their mistakes. Government was quite large hearted, they too realised that it was a first of a kind of experience. However, I feel that a process of maturity starts when people learn from mistakes," he said.

Sharma said that after the flak received by broadcasters from the Government for their coverage of the 26/11 attacks, India TV started sessions involving retired defence officials with its staffers on how to cover such incidents.

On Government's move to put in place some stringent measures to regulate the media, Sharma said "there was a lack of dialogue earlier but now broadcasters talk with government regularly. As soon as the dialogue process started, complaints ended. It has been decided that constant dialogue should go on and things are expected to improve in future".