16 transferred from DD News to AIR

NEW DELHI: Even as the debate on the fate of DD News continues in political and government circles, 16 senior people associated with the channel have been transferred to sister concern All India Radio.

The transfer orders, which came two days ago, were with immediate effect, according to officials in Doordarshan. There is also no proposal to replace the people shunted out of the news channel re-launched October last by the previous government. Most of those given the sideways swipe are at assistant news editor and news editor level.

Interestingly, out of the 16 people (all belonging to the Indian Information Service) transferred, 11 belonged to DD's Delhi centre, while the others are located in various parts of the country. It is alleged by the IIS lobby that since outsiders like consulting editor Deepak Chaurasia could not get along well with the government officials, the transfers have been done.

While confirming the transfer of personnel to AIR, a DD official, however, tried to play it down terming the moves as "routine". "DD News did not have so many posts and the people were given to us by AIR when the news channel was started. In a routine procedure, they have been transferred back to their original posting," the official said.

It is this reverting of personnel to original postings that has created a flutter within Prasar Bharati, which runs DD and AIR, as speculation is rife that these transfers are but a precursor to the closure of the news channel whose ratings have fallen. Though, DD News mandarins will argue that the rating agencies do not do their job fairly because DD's terrestrial reach is ignored.

More interestingly, had the IIS officials concerned been sent out of town from their present postings, a clearance from the information and broadcasting ministry would have been needed. All the movements have been laterally made to AIR in the same city and for which Prasar Bharati needs no clearance from the ministry.

The IIS lobby has been upset from the time professionals like Chaurasia and Saleha Wasim (formerly with NDTV when it was managing Star News) had been hired for DD News from other channels. Some others followed Chaurasia from Aaj Tak as well.

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