Acknowledging that certain portions of the Narendra Modi interview on Doordarshan "were apparently edited", Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar Friday said the public broadcaster had failed to get the autonomy it was seeking and pointed a finger at Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari for the failure to break the stranglehold.
In a strongly-worded letter to the Prasar Bharati board, under which Doordarshan and All India Radio function, Sircar said "It appears that while portions critical of Doordarshan were telecast, certain comments on other personalities were apparently edited" in the Modi interview telecast April 27.
Stating that "since questions have been raised in the public domain about the impartiality and motives of the public broadcaster", the Prasar Bharati board had "taken several resolutions in the last two years, seeking more operational autonomy from the ministry, but it has failed to do so", Sircar said.
He said that "in a way, therefore, the ministry of information and broadcasting lost an opportunity to convince a young minister (Manish Tewari) to break this long traditional linkage between the ministry and the News Division, which has continued unabated even after Prasar Bharati was born and assigned its distinct role in 1997".
Indicating the manner in which the ministry controls the Prasar Bharati, he said: "The mechanisms of appointment, transfers, career assessments and even punitive actions against senior officials of the News Division are bound to cast a 'shadow', in some form". A copy of the letter is available with IANS.
Doordarshan had edited out portions from Modi's interview where he had referred to Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's political advisor Ahmed Patel. The move had created a political storm with the Bharatiya Janata Party alleging government control over the public broadcaster.