Sharp, sensitive, substantive (conditions apply)

The Congress-led UPA’s election-eve attempt—like the BJP-led NDA’s attempt in 2004—to revive  Doordarshan News has come a cropper.

The Indian Express has an editorial:

“Less than two months after a splashy advertisement campaign championing Doordarshan’s new-look daily prime-time news bulletin, Ajai Shukla, the anchor/editor of its English-language segment, has put in his papers. The resignation follows recent circulars ordering that the content and guests for each bulletin be first run past Doordarshan officials, as clear a declaration of censorial intent as there can be.

“This unwillingness to walk even the first baby steps in allowing controlled autonomy to the national channel — in freeing it of daily interference — simply reinforces the popular distrust of any claim by Doordarsan to be neutral and free.

“The I&B ministry has a sport of choice, to keep inquiring into ways in which viewers can be attracted to Doordarshan, but its experiments will keep coming to naught till it reckons with the bottomline. It is this: when viewers fail to flock to the channel, it is not veracity of the news put out by the channel that is in question. It is their scepticism that the news is in any way whole, that what is being presented is the full picture.

“Whichever way the government may spin the current controversy from here, that scepticism has been shown to be proper caution. What an ironic end to an exercise intended to prove the very opposite.”

Read the full editorial: Very costly experiment

Also read: The poll straws, they are a-blowin’ in DD News


  1. What about the mediocrity that one sees in the private channels, which are completely controlled by TRP ratings and the “Breaking News” syndrome (“It is your channel, which first broke the news…” etc etc). What about the blocking of the Radiaa tapes scandal and the names of the journalists who were implicated? These channels are no less free though they might like to believe themselves to be several notches higher than DD! The sensationalism, the coverage of trivia and the undue importance given to cricket, IPL etc., at the cost of serious issues, have no less undermined the credibility of these channels. Unlike, DD, which is controlled by one boss, these have several, starting from their owners who drive all the decision-making, followed by the corporations, who gives them the advertisements, not forgetting the government, to whom all these media channels, also look to for patronage. The choice is between Tweedledum and Tweedledee so let’s cast aside our illusions about having frank and fair reporting on the corporate media channels!

  2. Obviously Doordarshan needs to be more responsive to viewers’ need for news and razor sharp analysis!

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