BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Saturday expressed concern that public broadcaster Doordarshan was struggling to maintain its professional freedom.
“We have witnessed the horrors of the Emergency when freedom of press and freedom of expression were suppressed. It is a blot on our democracy. On days such as this, I feel very sad to see our national TV channel struggling to maintain its professional freedom,” Mr. Modi wrote on his Twitter handle.
Greeting journalists on World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the Gujarat Chief Minister said a free press was a democracy’s cornerstone and must be preserved in letter and spirit.
His comment came after Prasar Bharati CEO Jawhar Sircar, in a hard-hitting letter on Friday, acknowledged that certain portions of Mr. Modi’s interview to Doordarshan “were apparently edited”.
Mr. Sircar, in the letter to the Prasar Bharati board, also pointed a finger at Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari for failing to grant the public broadcaster “operational autonomy” that it has been seeking for years.
Doordarshan and All India Radio function under the Prasar Bharati board.
Pleading ignorance about the letter, Mr. Tewari told IANS, “I have not seen the letter. It was not addressed to me, so how am I supposed to comment?”