A parliamentary committee has demanded a thorough probe into how a private producer for Doordarshan was able to corner a bulk of programmes on the national channel as also on the Doordarshan Kendra - Kolkata and the ‘serious mischief’ played by him in one of the programmes where Jammu & Kashmir was described as ‘India-occupied Kashmir’.
The Standing Committee on Information Technology has taken a serious note of the fact that a private producer—Rainbow productions owned by Ramesh Gandhi—had been able to monopolise DD-I and DD-7 (DDK Kolkata) to the extent of 26 per cent and 70 per cent respectively of the total programmes telecast at Kolkata.
In the report, which was released by the panel’s chairman Somnath Chatterjee, surprise was expressed that although inquiry had already established involvement of 14 officers of the Prasar Bharati, no action had been taken against them or against the private producer.
Besides, the report pointed out that the producer played a serious mischief in the programme ‘Khas Khabar’ telecast on November 21, 2000, by describing Jammu and Kashmir as India-occupied Kashmir. The committee wanted a proper inquiry into the matter as it couldn’t be described merely as an “innocuous error”.
The committee apprehended that there is every possibility of recurrence of such mischief if the Prasar Bharati did not review its policy and enforce strictly the regulation relating to private producers. It held that the programme ‘Khas Khabar’, which is repeated four times a day is a ‘news bulletin’ based on hard daily news rather than a current affairs programme.
It said the programme was deliberately allowed in violation of the decision taken by the Prasar Bharati board on March 11, 1999, that private producers would not be permitted to produce and telecast news programmes.