Row over ‘omission’ of parts of Modi interview to DD News on Priyanka and Ahmed Patel

NEW DELHI (TIP): A row erupted over reports that Doordarshan had “censored” Narendra Modi’s interview, with BJP alleging that it was due to government “pressure” even as the public broadcaster insisted that there was no interference by any authority or any “deliberate omission”.

The government also denied any hand in the alleged omission of the part of the interview in which Modi is believed to have said that Priyanka Gandhi was like his daughter, arguing that Prasar Bharati, which runs DD, is autonomous. “Prasar Bharti is an independent body. ..Somewhere pressure has been exerted and the interview has been censorred and cut,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman told a press conference here.

“It is a shame, when at one point of time Congress party speaks about freedom of speech, there is still space for censor and Congress party is misusing this power,” she said, adding “either the Prasar Bharati or the Information and Broadcasting Ministry should “answer”. Denying any wrongdoing, Doordarshan said in a statement, “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.” Insisting that there was no attempt to downplay the interview, DD said that “important portions of the interview were used in all the important bulletins of DD News also….It was given wide pre-telecast publicity and (the interview) was repeated the next day.” Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said that his ministry does not interfere in Doordarshan’s news agenda as it has an “arm’s length relationship with Prasar Bharati, which is an autonomous broadcaster by an act of Parliament.”

Targeting the government, Sitharaman said senior Congress leader and Union Minister Kapil Sibal tried to use power to control social media sometime ago and now they (government) were “trying it on Doordarshan”. In its statement, Doordarshan gave the sequence of events saying the interview with Modi was recorded at Gandhinagar on 26 April morning. It said that DD News had made a request for an half an hour interview. “This was a three camera production as Shri Modi gave this interview while walking on his lawns and required lot of post production before putting on air.

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The team came back from Gandhinagar in the late night on 26th and after that post production was done to telecast it in a fixed slot,” it added. The broadcaster also said that it had publicised the programme by making announcements as well as on the social media. “The announcement was run in scroll and teaser along with Shri Modi’s visual was also constantly run. The interview time was announced extensively,” the statement said.

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