have said that there is a shadow — the fact that you might have to go back there, the fact that ultimately someone who controls your destiny may not look upon it well is good enough to cast a shadow, that’s all. I didn’t ask for a debate on this.
Archna Shukla: Can you give us an inside view of how the Narendra Modi interview was ‘procured’? Was the unedited part sent to someone in the government?
There are 21 major Doordarshan channels and 35 major Akashvani stations. What happened was like this. At 3.30-4 pm on a Sunday, there was an outburst on social media, which was conveyed to me by my friends. I rang up the DG, News. Frankly, that was the first time that I heard the interview was done. I asked him, ‘What’s the problem?’ He said, ‘Thoda maamla hai. Bird sounds and others have come in, we need to do editing’. He’s a gentleman. I believed him. He said, ‘I would like to balance it out tomorrow’.
Archna Shukla: Who is ‘he’?
Mr (S M) Khan. He said, ‘I would like to balance it out’. I said, ‘If you have it in your hand, don’t delay it. You are a newsman. Don’t hold a hot property like that in your hand’. He said, ‘Aaj hi karenge’. It’s only the day after that the news came out saying it was edited. So we asked him again… He gave a statement saying it’s a collective decision. We can order an inquiry, we may do it, but if X is found guilty or Y is found failing, I think it’s just the naivete of not understanding. There are two good boys with me, suppose I find someone guilty, can I take action? That’s the low point. If I can’t take action, do you do something where you have to end up eating humble pie? We have sought legal opinion.
Raj Kamal Jha: When you say if somebody is guilty, guilty of what? If you look at the interview and what was not shown, somebody can turn around and say it’s my judgment, so why guilty?
No. I have used the word ‘if’. I won’t take a judgmental call on a newsman. I know where my limitations are. Supposing there is an inquiry and they say it’s a bad call and maybe a reprimand would do, who can do the reprimand? If the CEO can’t do it, where’s discipline? The Act was passed in 1990. There are two sections — 31 and 32 — that stand out like sore thumbs. I am almost convinced that if we go back to the files of 1990, we will find that these were inserted later. These say that rule-making powers, promotion powers, serving powers, equipment powers are with the government. I feel it was not a great act of magnanimity though it was the mission of I K Gujral to do it… In 20 years, there has been no recruitment, no promotions. You ask a guy to work, continued…