Political parties question editing of Modi's interview by Prasar Bharti

Last Updated: Sat, May 03, 2014 12:15 hrs

May 3 (ANI): Political parties questioned the editing of the interview of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi that was aired by National broadcaster Doordarshan on April 27.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Yogendra Yadav said that whether it is the BJP or Congress both do not want to handover autonomy to Prasar Bharti, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio.

"Whatever the CEO of Prasar Bharti said is completely true; there is no autonomy to Prasar Bharti and it is being misused by the government. It is under the pressure of the government. There is nothing new to it. This has happened during Congress rule, and the truth is that when BJP's Pramod Mahajan used to be the Information and Broadcasting minister, then the situation was even worse. So whether the BJP or the Congress remains in power, both of them are not ready to give autonomy to Prasar Bharti; both don't want a free media and both want a bugle that plays their tunes, "he said.

Leader of Communist Party of India (CPI), D. Raja, stressed that the broadcaster own up responsibility for editing the interview and providing the reasons for doing so.

"So, at the time of elections, all these things are getting murkier and murkier. So I insist again Doordarshan and Prasar Bharti should own up the responsibility for editing that interview for whatever reason and explain their position. If they accuse the minister, they must provide evidence and they must again explain to the nation how the minister interfered, government interfered," he said.

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Modi on the social media site Twitter posted "We have witnessed the horrors of emergency when freedom of press and freedom of expression were suppressed. It is a blot on our democracy.

Congress leader Meem Afzal denied the allegations and said that the interview was edited as per course and there was no pressure from the government.

"You know, the entire media knows whether it is the print media or electronic media, whatever footage comes, the editor has the right to form the story according to the time or the space available and that is what has been done. The government has nothing to do with this. All these are false rumours and false accusations by the Bharatiya Janata Party about the government being involved," he said.

In a letter to the board, Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar claimed the "shadow of government" on Doordarshan's credibility and said that Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari had been ignoring his requests for more autonomy.

It was reported on Thursday that Modi during an interview to Doordarshan, had said that Priyanka is 'like his daughter'.

The interview had sparked controversy after it was reported that Doordarshan edited out the portion where Modi made this statement.

Sircar said that the controversial deletions of portions of the interview had been left to the discretion of the public broadcaster's news editorial team.

The DG News of Doordarshan, in response to the controversy, said: There was no deliberate editing or omission of any portion of the interview. Wherever editing was done, it was for technical reasons and during post production. There was no interference or control from any authority in the entire process. Important portions of the interviews were used in all the important bulletins of Doordarshan News also.' Doordarshan also indicated that the 56 minute interview was edited to fit into a 34 minute slot initially.

The DG News added: "There was no attempt to downplay the interview, rather it was given wide pre-telecast publicity and also repeated the next day, on the 28th April. (ANI)

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