RSTV completes 5 years: Letter from Editor-in-Chief

Rajya Sabha Television has completed 5 years and here’s a letter from the CEO and Editor-in-Chief of the channel, Gurdeep Sappal.

Today we complete five years of Rajya Sabha Television. It’s been a satisfying journey. We have been able to set a benchmark in public broadcasting, despite all the usual constraints. In this journey, my colleagues, fellow editors, executive producers, anchors, guest participants and invisible faces working behind cameras and at the desk have contributed in equal measure. I thank all of them in persevering and working against odds and earning a name for the institution.

While developing RSTV, we were always conscious to establish the classical role of the institution of an Editor, ensure the freedom exercised by individual journalist, bring in objectivity & candour in discussions and strive for non-sensational, serious journalism. We hope, you too will agree that we have achieved it to some degree of satisfaction.

Now, as we continue to carve a niche space for ourselves, we have moved into documenting history of contemporary India through films and series. We are confident that just like our series Samvidhan, the fruits of this effort will also find a privileged place on the bookshelves of thinking people for the decades to come.

This journey wouldn’t have been possible without complete autonomy granted by the Vice President of India. It was his intellectual depth and conviction, as also the innate belief in values and principles, that set the stage and direction for us to deliver.

Also, the autonomy could be realised in practice only due to unqualified support of the successive Secretary Generals of Rajya Sabha, viz. Dr. VK Agnihotri & Shumsher Sheriff and the Secretary Dr. DB Singh. Credit also goes to my colleagues in administration, who continuously innovated to make best use of government rules and regulations in favour of exercising the autonomy. I thank all of them.

I also got full support of all parties in Rajya Sabha and almost all prominent leaders, as well as, successive Deputy Chairmen viz. K Rehman Khan and Prof. PJ Kurien. Their appreciation is the best reward we have for our collective labour and application.

But above all this, I would thank our viewers who have kept us going. We started with a belief to built a credible media institution. Now as we stand amongst the most popular YouTube channels in news and current affairs category and are daily featured in the WhatsApp groups of lakhs of students preparing for civil and other exams, we know that we have been able to do something right.

Our policy of allowing everyone to use all our content for free has led to sharing of our programmes on innumerable websites and channels. This free and often unacknowledged sharing of our content does not add to our viewer count, but as a public broadcaster, it helps us to fulfill our mission.

Our decision to provide highest time share amongst all channels to areas dealing with culture, science, foreign policy and security forces etc. has won us a dedicated viewership and we thank you all with complete gratitude.

In the end, I would like to use the opportunity to share my response with those who keep on asking what makes RSTV tick despite the constraints of government rules and general pressures. It is because we do believe that robust institutions can only be developed ‘when we have no past to hide, no self interest in present and no expectations from future’, coupled with clarity of conviction and self-belief.

Thanking you all,
Gurdeep Sappal
CEO & Editor-in-Chief
Rajya Sabha Television