DD refutes charges that Amitabh Bachchan was ignored

MUMBAI: Prasar Bharati has come out in the open defending Doordarshan against allegations that the pubcaster failed to provide adequate news coverage on Amitabh Bachchan regarding his illness.

Prasar Bharati, in a media release issued today, asserts that DD News has given due prominence to the story in its news presentation. The news of Amitabh Bachchan's illness was covered in 63 bulletins over a period of one week, it claims.

Beginning from 28 November, when Bachchan was hospitalised, DD News has given an update on the superstar's health in almost all its major bulletins, including an extensive coverage on December 1st , the day when he was operated, states the release.

DD News head Amitabh Chakrabarti justifies the pubcaster's method of coverage saying it follows the parameters given and reflected in the Parthasarathy Code. He says DD is quite different from private TV channels which keep on doing stunts just keeping Television Rating Points (TRP) in mind.

"With the advent of electronic media and the ferocity with which these channels raise hypes - perhaps with an eye on TRPs, goes close to the culture of tabloid journalism. Doordarshan scrupulously avoids that. It was a conscious decision by the editorial hands that while presenting news on Amitabh Bachchan's illness, we should not create any hype so as to raise unnecessary scare among the millions of viewers," he says.

Chakrabarti also points out that DD News even carried a full-fledged story on Harivansh Rai Bachchan's birthday on 27 November. "This is to illustrate that there was no effort to downplay Amitabh Bachchan's illness as alleged in some media reports," he adds.

DD has been under tremendous pressure with allegations, mainly coming from the print media, that it ignored Amitabh Bachchan at the behest of AICC president Sonia Gandhi. Reportedly, I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi himself had to instruct his ministry to give adequate coverage to Bachchan on DD News.

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