Operations of public broadcasters AIR and Doordarshan were "badly affected" on Tuesday as almost their entire technical staff went on a 48-hour strike demanding repeal of the Prasar Bharti Act.
The strike called by National Federation of Doordarshan and AIR employees (NFDAE) led to 95% of AIR and 60% of Doordarshan centres not functioning, AIR and Doordarshan Engineers' Association General Secretary P N Bhakta claimed.
The technicians are demanding repeal of the Prasar Bharti Act "as it has not been able to function".
Journalists and anchors were on duty but AIR could not broadcast any bulletin after 10 am due to technical disruptions on account of the strike, the Federation claimed but AIR sources said that there was no "total disruption".
AIR sources said the 2:30 pm Hindi bulletin went on the air while the broadcast of 2 pm English bulletin was somewhat successful. "We have put the news on our websites," the source said.
Official sources said the functioning of DD and AIR were "badly affected" and in DD only films were run while usual programmes were kept aside.
Though the DD has managed to air news, sources said the quality was "heavily compromised" as recorded bulletins were repeated the whole day.
Updating was a problem along with technical glitches, the sources said.
When contacted, Doordarshan Director General Aruna Sharma said that regional centres Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Jalandhar and Thiruvananthapuram were not operating. "They are showing national programmes. News is running and Asian Games telecast is fine," she told PTI.
AIR Director General Noureen Naqvi could not be contacted for comments.
Regional channels of DD 'Podhigai' (Tamil Nadu), DD Chandana (Karnataka), DD Malayalam (Kerala), DD NE (North-East) and DD Bangla (West Bengal) were running old films and programmes from the national feed.
In Chennai, more than 200 employees especially from programming, technical and engineering sections, who began their protest from 9 am, alleged that the "12 years of Prasar Bharati experiment" had "dented" the reputation of AIR and Doordarshan.
All AIR channels including Chennai A, Chennai B, FM and commercial channels went off air since morning, sources said.
AIR with 336 broadcasting centres and DD with a network of 60 production centres and 1,404 transmitters served 99.13% and 94% of the country's population, respectively.