Skip to main content

How Modi's interview for Doordarshan was "censored" in 2014, resulting in political flutter

By Firoz Bakht Ahmed*
It is well-known how, after Ashok Srivastava interviewed Narendra Modi for the Doordarshan (DD) News ahead of the 2014 elections, a big chunk of it was edited. The edited portion included, among other things, Modi referring to Priyanka Gandhi his daughter and sharp attacks on Sonia Gandhi's political adviser Ahmed Patel and her son-in-law Robert Vadra.
The BJP raised a huge hue and cry over the deletion of a 19-minute part of Modi’s interview that was broadcast on DD. The then DD authorities targeted Srivastava with a flurry of questions and rebukes, telling him, whatever was to be aired or not was not his prerogative.
Verbal duel followed between Congress' Manish Tiwari and Prasar Bharti CEO Jawahar Sarkar about the editing and censorship of the interview. Srivastava was taken to task by SM Khan, DG DD News, who almost threatened him to be ejected out of his job. He was also taken to task for not rebuking Modi, who had pointed out how for almost ten years he was blacked out.
Charges were levied against him for his links with the Sangh Parivar because his father Vijay Dutt Srivastava was Lal Krishna Advani’s additional personal secretary in the past and had close relations with the Sangh leaders. The Congress establishment seemed to treat the Sangh as if it were a synonym of treason.
Another charge against Srivastava was that he was “planted” by Sushma Swaraj when she was minister of information and broadcasting under AB Vajpayee. He was also considered a sinner for marrying someone who worked in the Sangh mouthpiece, “Panchjanya”.
Srivastava has respond to all this through his new book, “Narendra Modi Censored”. The entire narrative relates to his predicament, starting with how he got the flight for Ahmedabad just by a whisker for his interview with Modi, fixed in Gandhinagar.
He laments, after having recorded Modi for 56 minutes, how the Congress-led government, through DD authorities, including Khan and Sircar, tried to stop it from being aired. On April 26, 2014, he took the interview of Modi, the then BJP Prime Ministerial candidate, to be telecast the same day. However, it wasn’t cleared for obvious reasons.
Khan, Srivastava records in his book, objected to avoiding asking Modi question on Gujarat riots. As for Modi calling Priyanka his daughter, which was also edited out, but later became news, she responded -- which many considered in bad taste -- by saying, "I am Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter"! DD News did carry the interview after many cuts, remaining only to 34 minutes.
Those were testing days, full of turbulence, for Srivastava, who waited for the release of the interview, the book asserts. Ultimately, it was aired but like a "soulless" entity. He did protest but nothing came out. Nevertheless, he says, he shared his disgust of his Modi interview being held back and edited.
Srivastava took the risk by arguing with the top brass in the office for the "unjust" treatment. In the “Mywatcher” WhatsApp group, he wrote the "horrendous" manner in which the entire Modi interview was "truncated". Lot of brouhaha was there; nevertheless, the entire controversy was displayed on the social media where thousands liked it.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed with Modi
Currently, Srivastava enjoys a celebrity status. In fact, many in the electronics media consider him a credible and creditable name. He is also one of those who, for being close to Modi, is termed as “Modi bhakht” (Modi’s faithful).
Srivastava laments in his book how fake news and false perception and propaganda about the present times have become a norm. He wonders if this is freedom of press. He also questions those who who talk about “state of undeclared emergency” and “throttling of the freedom of press”, as also those who say Modi fears facing questions.
Srivastava had earlier reported events like the razing of the Babri mosque and the occupation of the Hazratbal shrine in by terrorists. A recipient of the National RTI Award, in 2003, 2005 and 2006 he was awarded for being the most impacting and sought after anchor.
Today, at DD News, his “Do Took” (Calling a Spade a Spade), often intrusive for the political participants, is known to enjoy one of the best TRPs . 
---
*Grandnephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

80 RTI activists killed since 2014, yet Modi govt 'refuses' to implement whistleblowers Act

By Our Representative
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over power in 2014 at the Centre, more than 80 have been killed “in their quest for information and accountability” through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a public hearing in Delhi has been told. Senior politicians from opposition parties, including Congress and Left, heard people express their anguish over the manner in which the government was treating the RTI Act, even as refusing to operationalise the Whistleblower Protection Act, passed in 2014.