Doordarshan Official Suspended for Not Telecasting Modi's Speech Live

A report cited a top source at Prasar Bharathi as having said that the official's decision was 'wilful insubordination'.

New Delhi: India’s public broadcasting agency, Prasar Bharati has initiated disciplinary proceedings against an assistant director of programme in Chennai, R. Vasumathi for allegedly failing to telecast a speech by PM Modi live on DD Podhigai.

On September 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech at the Singapore-India Hackathon 2019 held at IIT Madras’s research centre in Chennai.

The order, which does not explicitly state the reason for her suspension, merely conveys that a disciplinary hearing has been initiated against Vasumathi and that she will be placed under suspension as per the Central Civil Services Rules (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965, according to a report in the NewsMinute.

The report also cited a top source at Prasar Bharathi as saying that Vasumathi’s decision not to telecast part of the Hackathon was ‘wilful insubordination’. “She failed to telecast the speech live despite having been instructed to do so explicitly,” a source in Prasar Bharathi told the NewsMinute.

Also read: Why Prasar Bharati Continues to Remain Bereft of Real Power

On September 30, of the three gatherings that Modi addressed in Chennai, DD Podhigai telecast two of the events live while only a part of the Hackathon was telecast. The channel had carried a live telecast of the PM’s address to BJP supporters at the Chennai airport. The prime minister later felicitated the winners of the second edition of the Singapore-India joint hackathon held at IIT Madras and then attended the 56th annual convocation ceremony of IIT Madras as the chief guest.

Another source told the NewsMinute that the PM’s office has enquired as to why the PM’s speech had not been telecast live but was instead carried as a ‘news item’. While one official claimed that the crew at DD Podhigai did not receive the requisite permission to go live, another official said that the as per norms, DD National had telecast the speech live.

Upon being asked if the suspension in question was a harsh reaction to the incident, a source told the NewsMinute that the “government does not look at suspension as a punishment, and this is part of a process as the inquiry goes on”.

Speaking to The WireShashi Shekhar, CEO of Prasar Bharati said, “It would not be appropriate for me to comment on internal administrative matters”.