Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has alleged an attempt by the top brass of Doordarshan to scuttle ‘Green Kerala Express,' the widely-appreciated reality show featuring local bodies in the State.

Inaugurating a two-day workshop on ‘Media and Development' here on Saturday, Dr. Isaac said he had hoped that the Doordarshan authorities would promote the programme, which was a fine example of development communication in the history of television in the country.

The State government, he pointed out, had announced a cash prize of Rs.1 crore to the local body that emerged as the winner in the show. “Now, Doordarshan is trying to scuttle it. The persons who had conceived the programme and are engaged in its production are being transferred out. When bureaucracy and not journalism begins to rule, it is a serious matter,” Dr. Isaac said.

He said the question that was of paramount importance now was how to preserve journalistic autonomy. One of the major challenges that he and others who had worked on the decentralised planning initiative faced was how to bring the mainstream media on board. Although several rounds of brainstorming were held, no breakthrough was possible. The ‘Green Kerala Express' was the first attempt to bring to the fore the initiatives in development at the grassroots.

The programme, he said, clearly showed how communication from below could also prove effective in influencing the planning process. The significance of the programme was that it had come at a time when the very structure of the mainstream media militated against serious discussions on development, Dr. Isaac said.