Given that DD has a reach in every part of the country, was it an attempt to stop Modi’s voice from reaching the masses?
There have been rumours in the past that the ‘national’ channel DoorDarshan lost its voice when political circuits started becoming heavy on their demands. Especially the central government, whose information and broadcasting ministry controlled the channel.
An interesting piece of news has come in Times of India which says that the humble DD, as we call it, has given rise to a huge controversy. It is being speculated that the DD edited out portions of BJP candidate Narendra Modi’s interview which changed the ‘tone’ of the interview.
According to ToI, word in the social media was that the interview was being dropped as there was no buzz on the DD for its telecast. Even after two days of recording the interview on the morning of April 26, there was no sign of the telecast.
Finally, the interview was broadcasted at 9.30 pm on April 27 in a programme called Khas Mulaqat, as ToI says, “with barely any promotions or teasers”. Buzz in the social media suggested that during the interview, Modi had mentioned his being “blacked out” by Gujarat DD Kendra for over a year and that he was “surprised” to get a request from the broadcaster.
ToI further reports that the attempts to “play down” the interview cannot be ruled out. It also suggests that the interview was to be “spiked” or “not telecast” till DD had got an interview with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. The report further mentions that the interview, which was about an hour long, was edited with “considerable time” spent on the editing table.
“As a measure of abundant caution it was decided to edit out the part where Modi refused to attack Priyanka Gandhi in response to a question, saying she was like his daughter and not a political rival like her mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and Rahul Gandhi,” ToI mentions a source.
He is also reported to have said that in Indian culture daughters were not targeted and that the DD took out the portion because it believed that it “may create a political controversy”.
The report that ToI published mentions Prasar Bharati CEO Jawahar Sircar who appears to be explaining nothing. He fails to shed light as to whether and why the portions of the Modi interview were edited and why such an interview, which is considered quite big in media circles, was broadcasted late and that too without any promotion.
He just give s a lame excuse by saying that the DD “had a meeting to slot it” as it was “hot story of the day”. But then he goes on to rant how as a public broadcaster DD “must maintain balance which sometimes leads to counter-speculation and innuendos”.
Given that DD has a reach in every part of the country, was it an attempt to stop Modi’s voice from reaching the masses? Or was it a conscious decision by the central government to use Priyanka against Modi by not showing latter’s humble remarks?