Internationally, the Indian government has been facing severe criticism from Western and American media for its handling of the COVID-19 crisis. Amid this criticism, the national public broadcaster Prasar Bharati released a tender for a consultant to provide a launch plan for a new channel with an international presence.

While Prasar Bharati officials said that the tender is not a reaction to the present situation but the idea of launching an international channel existed for a long time. However, many are seeing this plan as an idea of the present government to fight the narrative set by international media against developing countries.

Western media such as the BBC, The Guardian, and American media such as the New York Times, WashingtonPost, and middle eastern media like Aljazeera have a global presence, and the power to control the narrative. China launched Global Times to grow its presence in international media while Russia has its own media giant RT.

“In view of the strategic objective to build a global presence for Doordarshan and to establish an international voice for India, it is envisaged to establish DD International. The EOI is being issued for a Detailed Project Report (DPR) from reputed global consultants with experience in advising international broadcasters/media houses on projects of this nature,” read the official Expression of Interest.

The EOI was floated on May 13 for a consultancy service to provide a detailed project plan on the establishment of “DD International”. According to the tender issued, the objective behind this new channel is to “project India’s point of view globally on contemporary issues of both global and domestic significance” and to “tell the India Story to the global audience”.

The intention behind the tender is that Prasar Bharti is looking to set up bureaus across the world and needs consultancy service help to identify these locations.  A road map to building the channel, plans for 24×7 world service streams, and prioritising geography-specific stream is also needed. The tender also talks about developing a strategic roadmap for a Global News Service based on DD India content.