Prasar Bharati to decide tomorrow about probe into Modi interview

Prasar Bharati, which is getting a lot of bad press for alleged lack of autonomy, will decide on Monday whether there is any need to probe into the controversy over an ‘edited interview’ of BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

Jawhar Sircar, CEO of Prasar Bharati, which supervises the functioning of Doordarshan and the All India Radio (AIR), said on Saturday that they will look into the papers and take a call. On 26 April, DD News had interviewed Modi at Gandhinagar and it was telecast the next day. Surprisingly, some of his remarks on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and his closeness with Congress leader Ahmed Patel were edited.

There are allegations from several political leaders that this was done on the behest of the ministry of information and broadcasting headed by Manish Tewari. Things turned bitter after the unedited interview of Modi was made public through the social media.

Earlier, Sircar has blamed the I&B minister for not giving the state-run broadcaster full ‘autonomy’. Rubbishing Sircar’s allegation, Tewari said: ‘We had an arm’s-length relationship with Prasar Bharati and the public broadcaster’s autonomy was guaranteed by an act of Parliament.’

‘I was first person who had suggested that that the relations between the state-run broadcaster and the government should be same as the finance ministry has with the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). I had also suggested that its budget should be allocated through the Consolidated Fund of India instead of routing it through the ministry,’ he said. Following the row, Sircar had written a letter to the Prasar Bharati board members questioning the ‘impartiality’ of the public broadcaster. Meanwhile, DD News in their clarification said that there was no deliberate attempt to edit any portion of the interview and wherever editing was done was for technical reasons.

Modi, on his part, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day expressed his concern over the functioning of Prasar Bharati.  
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