| 23 May 2022
Prasar Bharati surprised at new appointment in DD News, officials say pubcaster was never consulted

NEW DELHI: The order posting a person to head the news channel of Doordarshan and noting that the officer 'will report to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry for all purposes' has come as a surprise to many as it implies that DD News is to be directly controlled by the Ministry.

However, Prasar Bharati officials said that it has not come as a surprise since this has been the case for since the inception of DD News.

All India Radio has 45 news units while DD has thirty news units around the country, and all are headed by Indian Information Service officers posted by the Ministry.

Senior Prasar Bharati Advisor Brig. V A M Hussain said that Section 11(B)(2) of the Prasar Bharati Act 1990 is clear that the Ministry must consult or seek advice of the pubcaster before making such appointments. Under the Act, Prasar Bharati was made into an autonomous organisation.

But in this case, the order of the Ministry was not even marked as a copy to Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar.

Reacting to a news report about this, Hussain tweeted, “Never consulted Prasar Bharati in past/Fact is never handed over News.”

Answering a question, he said DD has 24 channels and DD News is the only one where the Indian Information Service officers who are directly answerable to the Ministry are posted without any consultation with the pubcaster.

In fact, Sircar has written to the Ministry several times in the past in this connection but not received a reply.

The pubcaster had also reacted strongly when SM Khan had been removed unceremoniously last year and placed on compulsory wait.

During the run-up to the elections, Khan was reported to have delayed the transmission of Narendra Modi's interview to Doordarshan. Answering a query about editing out certain portions, he had sad this was done only because of references made about persons who had not been given an opportunity to have their say.