At your service, Sir and Madam

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At your service, Sir and Madam

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 | Kumar Chellappan

The Doordarshan team has been hand-picked largely by the Congress and its henchmen with the help of the left to tarnish Narendra Modi’s image. The fiasco over the BJP leader’s interview should not thus surprise anybody

Prasar Bharati, the body which controls Doordarshan and All India Radio, the country’s public broadcasters, is filled with stooges of the Congress and the left. Hence, the controversy regarding the telecast by Doordarshan of the edited version of the interview with Mr Narendra Modi is uncalled for.

Both the Congress and the left are known for their abilities to manipulate the official media to suit their convenience. Mr Modi should have known this cardinal lesson before granting an interview to Doordarshan. The entire Doordarshan team has been hand-picked by the Congress and its henchmen with the help of the left to tarnish the image of Mr Modi.

Ms Mrinal Pande, the chairperson of Prasar Bharati, is known for her hatred for Mr Modi. She was appointed as the Chairperson of Prasar Bharati with the brief to discredit, damage, demolish and destroy Mr Modi’s public image. Ms Pande declared her servility to the Congress by writing articles humiliating and abusing the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. The article, ‘Rambogiri in the year of the flood’ authored by Ms Pande in the July 11 edition of The Hindu is sufficient proof of her hatred for Mr Modi. Prasar Bharati chairperson is supposed to be an apolitical person and is expected to lead a team of broadcasters offering level-playing field to all political parties in the country.

Since Ms Pande is heading the official media, it was improper for her to write an article critical of Mr Modi, or, for that matter, any politician. Had she been a private citizen, nobody would have cared. Her article acted as a message to the hundreds of staff members of Prasar Bharati which way they should look while doing programmes and news coverage.

An analysis of news and views telecast by the Doordarshan’s Gujarati service itself is a panoramic view of the hate-Modi campaign unleashed by Ms Pande and her cohorts in Prasar Bharati. Mr Suman Dubey, a close associate of Ms Sonia Gandhi, Mr CR Kesavan, a Congress leader who claims to have been handpicked by Mr Rahul Gandhi, and Mr Muzaffar Ali, the film-maker, are some of the members serving the Prasar Bharati as ‘His Madam’s Voice’.

Having worked in Doordarshan for more than seven years as a programme staff, this writer has seen how the Government of the day misuses the official media for its narrow personal interests. The news editor and the station director are under strict orders not to give news coverage to parties and politicians not liked by the Congress leaders. Though the modern-day managers of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting claim that there is no official intervention in the day-to-day functioning of Doordarshan as well as AIR, it is an open secret that the Minister concerned and his deputies issue diktats on a daily basis to the news and programme departments.

The journalists working for Doordarshan and AIR are always under a threat — the threat of transfer. A news editor working in Thiruvananthapuram may find himself or herself either posted in Kashmir or Nagaland or Arunachal Pradesh if he or she fails to follow the official line.

The constitution of Prasar Bharati with promise to grant autonomy to Doordarshan and AIR, has not worked. The functional autonomy begins and ends at the doorsteps of Mr Manish Tiwari, incumbent Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting. Old colleagues working in Doordarshan and AIR tell me that things have gone from bad to worse. It has cost Doordarshan dearly. No wonder, viewers are running away from the stale programmes and news bulletins churned out of Doordarshan.

The Rajiv Gandhi days were no different. In fact, Doordarshan became ‘Rajiv Dasrhan’, thanks to the unprecedented sycophancy by court jesters like HKl Bhagat, Vasant Sathe and the likes. Gopi Arora, the then Information and Broadcasting Secretary, himself appeared as an anchor person in one of Doordarshan’s programmes to belittle the Opposition’s charges over Bofors.

When the idea of Prasar Bharati was initiated in 1977 by the then Information and Broadcasting Minister lK Advani, he had set a wonderful agenda of using the public broadcaster for educating the people and inculcating a spirit of nationalism and patriotism among the people. The proposal was to name the official media as Akash Bharati. But the Janata Party Government in which Mr Advani was holding the Information & Broadcasting portfolio fell even before the Akash Bharati Bill could be introduced in Parliament.

It is a strange coincidence that the next move to free Doordarshan and AIR from the shackles of the Union Government was initiated and executed during the tenure of Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister. But after the exit of the NDA Government, Prasar Bharati was back to square one, right under the control of the Congress.

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