Chandni Khan and Parag Maheshwari are very particular that their channel not be called ‘India A to Zee’. “It doesn’t matter if someone pronounces Z as zee, we say zed,” smiles Khan, sitting in her tiny office in a by-lane of Shahdara’s Vishwas Nagar. A tricolour flaps beside a channel poster, while a Quran scroll is placed next to a panel of Hindu gods. With a background in print journalism, the duo (both claiming to be 28) started the news channel in 2007. “Only a local channel can deal with local problems,” says Khan.Both spent about five years in the print media before switching over to the electronic one. "On the field, people would keep asking us to solve such and such an issue, so we thought, why not start a channel?" say the duo whose journalism spills largely into activism.
“My family is proud of what we do. People come and tell my father, ‘please ask your son to help us’.” But getting revenues isn't easy. “Some advertisers want their ads to be shown all over Delhi whereas we only have limited reach. It’s not easy convincing them.” What helps is if the cable operator is accommodating. “Some of them air our programmes for free,” says Khan.
A recent story was about a survey of the percentage of doctors in the area who have an MBBS degree. What were the findings? “Less than five per cent of all the doctors are qualified to prescribe allopathic medication. We are following up the story,” says Maheshwari.
What about political pressure? “Sometimes we get fake calls, sometimes even our reporters bring fake stories so one has to run checks…
Civic issues turn political, especially during elections. No pressure but there are requests. We have to take a call on who we think is telling the truth,” say the two.
INDIA A2Z NEWS, Shahdara, east Delhi
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