Citing the “deliberately edited” April 27 interview of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to public broadcaster Doordarshan as an example of its lack of control, Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Jawhar Sircar has sought powers from the Information & Broadcasting Ministry to decide postings of 300-plus Indian Information Service (IIS) officers to Prasar Bharati.
The move is being viewed as the public broadcaster’s attempt to gain control over the posting of IIS officers working in the news divisions of Akashwani and Doordarshan, the absence of which has often been blamed for Prasar Bharati’s inability to have any control over the news division.
While batting for powers to decide on the postings of these IIS officers, Sircar’s letter also states that it will be done “only after informing” the ministry.
“Since we are completely in the dark about career details of the officers, which are readily available in the Ministry’s files, it would be appropriate to share these with Prasar Bharati.
“I hope you will consider this proposal favourably as we do not want to land up in issues, such as the deliberately-edited interview of Shri Narendra Modi…which created such controversy,” Sircar wrote to I&B Secretary Bimal Julka on August 8.
The letter said that Prasar Bharati could only be held responsible only if it monitors the News Division.
“The concerned IIS officers can also accept the fact that they have to work in tandem with Prasar Bharati. I am afraid, as things stand now, we would stand accused of a ‘dichotomic position’ that the PB Act 1990 insists,” Sircar wrote.
Sircar’s letter also talks about “rationalising the monitoring mechanism of 300 plus IIS officers who are posted to the Electronic Media, ie. Prasar Bharati and who require specialisation, professionalism and hard skills in order to compete against the big private news media”.
Sircar could not be contacted for comments.