In yet another attack on freedom of speech, on Sunday, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar reported that both Doordarshan And All India Radio refused to air his Independence Day speech unless he reshaped it.
According to The Indian Express, a PTI report stated, “The Chief Minister clearly stated that he would not change a single word and described it as an unprecedented, undemocratic, autocratic and intolerant step.”
Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio was not immediately reacted to the incident.
On Monday, around 7 pm, a letter directed to the Chief minister’s office explained that his speech would not be broadcast unless he “reshaped it”.
This is what it said: “The message of the Chief Minister was closely examined by the 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.”
It further added: “However, Doordarshan/Prasar Bharati will be happy if the Chief Minister agrees to reshape the content making it suitable to the solemnity of the occasion and sentiment of the people.”
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has strongly condemned this action and targetted the central government in a statement: “The Modi government should stop treating Prasar Bharati as a department of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
“This act is reminiscent of the Emergency days and goes beyond as it seeks to gag the elected Chief Minister of a state.”