Government ‘takes over’ DD News

Veena Jain appointment raises questions about Centre’s intentions

Updated - November 16, 2021 05:02 pm IST

Published - May 30, 2015 01:38 am IST - New Delhi:

In a sudden move, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry announced the appointment of Information Service Officer Veena Jain as Director-General of Doordarshan News on Friday night, in the process, raising questions about the government’s intention to control and regulate news on the Public Service Broadcaster.

The order announcing Ms. Jain’s appointment categorically states, she will report to the Ministry for all purposes. Further to her appointment as Director-General News, Ms. Jain will also hold the dual designation of OSD to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in charge of new media.

Ms. Jain takes over from Akshay Rout who was officiating as Director-General News. Ms. Jain’s appointment comes in the wake of DD’s dwindling viewership and a slump in revenues.

Curiously, the order dated May 29, is marked to all media heads and the Department of Personnel, but leaves out the CEO of Prasar Bharati Corporation, the Chairman and the Prasar Bharati Board.

Ironically, just before the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had questioned the autonomy of the Prasar Bharati Corporation following the controversy over editing some portions of the first-ever interview given by the then Prime Minister aspirant. Mr. Modi had even vented his anguish on twitter when he tweeted, “I feel very sad to see our National TV channel struggling to maintain its professional freedom.”

The terms of Ms. Jain’s appointment will be seen in the context of the professional freedom enjoyed by the News Channel of Doordarshan.

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