Doordarshan is now Modi Darshan 

Autonomous on papers, Prasar Bharti has brazenly promoted the ruling dispensation in last four years. Doordarshan and it’s affiliates have devoted over 800 hours of air time to the PM Modi so far

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Ashutosh Sharma

The Modi Government re - launched Doordarshan in 2014 November as “Desh Ka Apna Channel” (the country’s own channel). Four years later, the joke around Mandi House, next to the DD headquarters, is that DD is now “Modi Ji Ka Apna Channel” (Modi’s personal channel).

When he was in the opposition, Narendra Modi had once complained that his speech was selectively edited by DD. Once he became the Prime Minister, DD has not taken chances. It prefers to cover all his speeches live.

Live telecasts can sometimes be embarrassing though, like when the Prime Minister was heard greeting Sri Lankan first lady as “M.R.S. Sirisena” instead of “Mrs Sirisena”.

This year DD went out of its way to telecast flag hoisting at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters by the party president Amit Shah live and caught him pulling the national flag down to the ground. “Tch, tch, tch, tch…disaster”, the cameras caught someone exclaim as Shah pulled the chord and the tricolour slid down and down instead of going up. DD deleted the video clips but by then the damage was done.

A DD executive reluctantly said on condition of anonymity, “Earlier also we covered official functions. But it has dramatically increased under the Modi government. Now we routinely send a crew of 40 people to cover a political rally or a road show of PM Modi. And it is followed in the case of most of the Chief Ministers in BJPruled states.”

“DD national, DD News and its regional channels have given on an average over 200 hours of airtime every year to PM Modi,” claimed sources in DD. A whopping 800 hours in four years. Notably, DD has also adapted the PM Modi’s monthly radio broadcast “Mann Ki Baat” for the television.

Doordarshan and it’s affiliates have devoted over 800 hours of air time to Prime Minister Narendra Modi so far, which according to sources is unprecedented in DD’s history 

The PM’s visit to Rama krishna Mission’s headquarters at Belur Math was covered live. It showed the PM Modi sitting near the slippers of Swami Vivekananda for 15 minutes in a meditative state.

The coverage included the PM standing amongst monks of the monastic order, getting himself photographed amidst chanting of Vedic mantras and offering prayers.

As part of the special coverage of Modi’s foreign visits in 2014-15, DD aired PM’s visit to Toji temple in Japan. It also made special arrangements for PM’s meeting with the Indian diaspora at Madison Square Garden in New York, Sydney and Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne. It also aired live the PM’s visit to Assi Ghat in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi.

It also covered live the PM’s visit to Gorakhdham Temple and his public rally at Gorakhpur as well as his visit to Navsari and Limkheda in Gujarat. Live coverage was again aired when the PM released the complete works of Deendayal Upadhyay. Other live coverages included his address at the Ramnath Goenka Journalism Awards, visit to the Rath Yatra in Puri and participation in Navaratri at Ahmedabad.

DD also provided live coverage to the PM unveiling a litigious 112-ft bust of Shiva ostensibly designed by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev of Isha Foundation at Coimbatore.

Significantly, DD refused to air Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s Independence Day speech last year after he declined to make changes to his speech, as had been suggested by Prasar Bharti. But a month and half later, DD telecast Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Dussehra speech. Earlier in October 2014, DD had also triggered a controversy after broadcasting Bhagwat’s address at Dusshera, which coincided with the 89th foundation day of RSS.

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