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

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.