New Delhi: Doordarshan on Wednesday said it has given "wide coverage" to Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar's Independence day programme but was silent on his complaint that his recorded speech was blacked out by both Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR).
"On 15 August 2017, Doordarshan gave wide coverage to the chief minister's Independence day programme and telecast report running to 29 minutes and 45 seconds. Out of which, the chief minister's speech coverage was for 12 minutes," UK Sahoo, head of Doordarshan Kendra, said in a letter to the media.
"The allegation that Doordarshan Kendra, Agartala blacked out the chief minister on Independence day is totally incorrect and is vehemently refuted," Sahoo said.
Apart from this, he said Sarkar's speech and the Independence day programme in various districts of Tripura were given wide publicity in the Regional News Bulletin.
However, the Doordarshan rebuttal did not specifically talk about Sarkar's complaint on Wednesday that the public broadcasters had refused to air his Independence Day address unless he "reshaped" it.
Sarkar had also termed it as an "undemocratic, autocratic and intolerant step".
A Tripura government press statement alleged that Doordarshan and AIR had recorded Sarkar's speech on 12 August. However, the chief minister's office was informed through a letter that his speech would not be broadcast unless he "reshaped it", it added.
The letter said, "The message of the chief minister was closely examined by competent authority. In view of the sanctity of the occasion, the broadcast code and responsibility of the public broadcaster it is not possible to telecast it in the present format."
A senior official in the Agartala Doordarshan unit confirmed that the pre-recorded speech which was to be telecast on 15 August around 9 am, after the Governor's address, was not aired.
"Our directorate in New Delhi had conveyed to us that it can be telecast but the content has to be reshaped. We had, accordingly, approached the chief minister, but he wanted it to be telecast without any editing. We waited till 10 pm on 14 August, but he maintained his stand that the speech has to be telecast as it is," he said.
Sahoo also said over the past 25 years, since its inception, Tripura Doordarshan Kendra has always given wide publicity to the speeches of state chief ministers and extensively covered public programme and official activities.
The Agartala Kendra has telecast the chief minister's message to the people of Tripura over these years, he said.
Updated Date: Aug 16, 2017 20:07 PM