One and a half months after refusing to broadcast Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s speech, national broadcaster Doordarshan has come under fire again, this time for telecasting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Dussehra speech.
DD News, which comes under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, telecast the RSS chief’s speech live from Nagpur on Friday, 29 September.
Earlier in August, Manik Sarkar had been denied the opportunity to address the people through Doordarshan and All India Radio on Independence Day.
DD and AIR had asked the democratically elected Chief Minister of Tripura to change the contents of his speech before they would broadcast it. Describing the act of censorship as “unprecedented, undemocratic, autocratic and intolerant step”, Manik Sarkar had refused to make changes in his speech, instead choosing to publish the speech through other media outlets.
The letter from Prasar Bharati barring the DD Agartala office to air the Tripura CM’s speech said, “The message of the Chief Minister was closely examined by competent authority. In view of the sanctity of the occasion, the broadcast code and responsibility of the public broadcaster it is not possible to telecast it in the present format.”
Doordarshan’s live telecast of Bhagwat’s speech elicited strong criticism.
Slamming the double standards of Doordarshan, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), said on Facebook: “RSS Chief gets live coverage on National, State TV. Was his speech checked? Remember, this govt had the audacity to not run the Tripura CM's speech on 15 August. Now, orders to telecast from Nagpur reveal the ways in which this govt treats democracy. Opposition CM won’t be shown but the unelected bosses of RSS will get full coverage of their divisive ideology”.
In his speech, Bhagwat referred to Rohingya Muslims in disparaging terms. Any decision on Rohingya crisis should be taken "keeping in mind threat to national security”, he said.
The RSS chief decried the Rohingyas in his speech, claiming that they are being out of Myanmar mainly due to their violent and criminal separatist activities and connection with terrorist groups.