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Pubcaster not consulted on new DD News appointment: Prasar Bharati officials

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NEW DELHI: The order posting Veena Jain to head the news channel of Doordarshan as director general 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 told Indiantelevision.com that this has been the case since the inception of DD News.

All India Radio has 45 news units while DD has 30 news units around the country, and all are headed by Indian Information Service (IIS) officers posted by the Ministry.

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

However, in this case, a copy of the Ministry's order was not even marked 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 that DD had 24 channels and DD News is the only one where the IIS officers are directly answerable to the Ministry and are posted without consultation with the pubcaster.

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

The pubcaster had also reacted strongly when S M 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.

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