AN interview of the Chinese Ambassador to India by news agency Press Trust of India has earned it the ire of the nation’s “autonomous” public broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, which called its “recent news coverage” detrimental to “national interest and undermining India’s territorial integrity.”
A letter was sent Saturday, with the subject “news reporting by PTI not in national interest,” written by Samir Kumar, head of Prasar Bharati News Service, and addressed to PTI’s Chief Marketing Officer.
The letter said that “taking into view in totality PTI’s conduct, Prasar Bharati is reviewing the need for continued relationship with PTI and a decision in this regard will be conveyed soon”.
When contacted, PTI said: “We have received a letter from the Prasar Bharati this afternoon. We are examining it and will respond in due course with the facts.”
This comes amid the ongoing border standoff between India and China which has claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.
“It is also mentioned that the PTI had…been time and again alerted by the Public Broadcaster on editorial lapses resulting in dissemination of wrong news harming public interest,” the letter added.
Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, is an autonomous institution owned by the Union Government. Since 2013, Prasar Bharati paid Rs 9.15 crore annually to PTI for its services. However, since 2017, the public broadcaster has been holding back about 25 per cent as it wants to renegotiate the costs.
China’s ambassador to India Sun Weidong had published his version of the PTI interview on the website of China’s embassy in India. This had just three questions and his answers.
In the interview, Sun blamed India for the LAC stand-off and, when asked about the resolution of the dispute, said that the “onus is not on China.”
PTI, in a subsequent report from Beijing, said that it had questioned Sun on China’s transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and its build-up but the envoy did not answer these.
Incidentally, the PTI interview marked the first instance that a Beijing official had gone on record to admit that during the violence in Galwan Valley on June 15, there had been “casualties” on the Chinese side as well.
PTI, registered in 1947, began its operations in 1949. An estimated 99 media organisations own all 5,416 of its shares as of March 2019. The PTI board has 16 members, including four independent directors, and the board’s chairpersonship is rotated every year. Punjab Kesari’s CEO and editor-in-chief is the current chairman. It is the largest news agency in the country and earns through subscriptions from media groups.
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