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Channels ready for election blitz

March 03, 2004 09:16 IST

It's election time on all major news channels. With the Election Commission kicking off the process with the declaration of poll dates, the major news channels, including Star News, Zee News, Aaj Tak and even international channels like BBC, have lined up extensive plans to cover the largest election process in the world.

While Zee News has plans for at least 250 hours of programming to cover the elections, Aaj Tak has lined up detailed coverage from almost all constituencies.

Star News also has plans of comprehensive coverage and international channels like the BBC will go the extra mile to follow the elections.

"We will engage more people and equipment than before," said Lakshmi Goel, head of Zee News.

Zee News' rival Aaj Tak has launched an array of new programmes and segments in addition to its existing programming.

The initiatives, which are being implemented in a phased manner, will mark the run-up to the elections. The election-related programming initiative of Aaj Tak has been christened Chunaav 2004: Aap Ki Sarkar.

According to Rajesh Sheshadri, TV Today spokesperson, "Election coverage has been our forte and we always lead in innovative content and format."

Star News' election special has been called Kaun Banega Pradhanmantri, which will consist of pre-election, election and post-election programmes. The channel is also working on a plan to get leaders of all the major political parties on its channel.

"The voter is younger than before, the programming will have to be relevant and involving. It will also be supported by on-ground activities on an unprecedented scale," said Ravina Raj Kohli, president, Star News.

The BBC said it would have more journalists for the purpose than any other international news organisation.

According to BBC's South Asia bureau chief Paul Danahar, "The outcome of the elections will be a story of global importance and we'll be treating it that way. Our special poll coverage will be spread over BBC World, BBC World Service and bbcnews.com."

The BBC coverage will be in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and Bengali on BBC World Service radio and its websites -- bbchindi.com, bbctamil.com, bbcurdu.com and bbcbengali.com.

There will also be an interactive site on the BBC online news service, www.bbcnews.com, which records 20 million page views every day.
BS Corporate Bureau in New Delhi
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