Baluchi-speaking people in the Af-Pak region and other parts of the world can now tune into AIR broadcast in the language through computers and mobile phones as India’s public broadcaster today launched multimedia webpage and mobile app of the service.
Prasar Bharati Chairperson A Surya Prakash, who launched the mobile app and the webpage, said the move is part of India’s efforts to reach out to the neighbourhood for better people-to-people contact. The move to launch AIR’s digital platforms in Baluchi came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech in which he had brought up the issue of Pakistani atrocities on the people of Balochistan and PoK.
India had also raised the issue of atrocities in Balochistan at the meeting of a UN body earlier this week. Prasar Bharati officials said the mobile app and the webpage were just “value addition” as Baluchi service of the AIR has been in existence since 1974. “There are several languages in which services are broadcast by the AIR. Baluchi is happening today, it will also happen for other languages,” Surya Prakash said. “As the world’s largest democracy, we have the responsibility to disseminate news and information across the world which is factual and correct,” he said.
Asked if AIR’s services could face obstruction in Pakistan given the prevailing situation, AIR DG F Shehryar said the radio service is on the short-wave which cannot be blocked. Responding to queries, Shehryar said that while AIR does not aim at countering any kind of propaganda, it will challenge falsehoods by presenting the correct information.
Shehryar said that, at present, one hour of programming in Baluchi language is broadcast daily, but there is a paucity of programmers in the language and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has assured it of support in this regard. Surya Prakash said AIR’s Baluchi service had been very popular but it was now facing competition from some other broadcasters. “But AIR has a lot of goodwill among Baluchi people, who have an emotional attachment and consider it an authentic source of information,” he said.