Inside story of how Modi's 2014 interview "finally' made it to Doordarshan
In the year 2014 when Narendra Modi was in the running for the post for Prime Minister, Doordarshan decided to conduct an interview with him. What was significant about this interview was not that Doordarshan was speaking to a prime ministerial candidate, but the fact that the national broadcaster had decided to telecast Modi after a ten year ban.
At a time when a few formers from Doordarshan are trying to take the high moral ground and speaking about the journalistic freedom, it is important to note here the Modi interview finally went up after a lot of twists, turns and more importantly edits. Here is the complete inside story on how the originally 56 minute Narendra Modi interview went up on DD after being reduced to 28 minutes.
The ban on Narendra Modi:
Narendra Modi had said in one interview that he has been banned on Doordarshan. He also said that he was responsible for giving so much revenue to DD in Gujarat, despite which he remained blacked out.
The very same person who speak about journalistic freedom were at the helm of affairs for four years during the ten year ban on Modi on DD. Many within DD felt the need to do a Modi interview considering his surge in popularity during the campaign.
However many were unsure if they could raise this topic due to the ban in place. However as the election heat was raised a few journalists discussed the interview in detail. Finally the DG was approached and told that an interview could be done. The DG in turn gave the go ahead, but also stated that a letter stating that an interview would be needed could not be given.
When Modi's office was approached, they were taken aback and said that DD never airs him. However the interview was done in Ahmedabad. The feed was sent to Delhi, but the interview did not run that day.
Sources in the know of things tell OneIndia that officials at DD decided to first preview the interview and then take a decision on whether to air it or not. Finally it was decided that portions of the interview would be edited and only then be aired. Only a few persons were allowed into the editing room and some other were asked to stay out. However a while later, it was decided that the interview would not be aired.
What changed in DD then?
This issue made it to the social media and instantly was discussed and debated in length. The then CEO of the Prasar Bharti, Jawahar Sircar was tagged in a couple of tweets and the issue became embarrassing.
It was then decided that the interview would be run. Sources say that it had also become about one upmanship for the then CEO who was allegedly having trouble with the then minister in charge.
Interestingly the interview was telecast. However probably for the first time in the history of Doordarshan there were no promos leading up to the interview. Some people decided to post on their social media about the interview which gave it the required publicity.
The editing controversy:
The interview was heavily edited and brought down to 28 minutes from 56. The controversy was regarding a quote by Modi on Priyanka Gandhi. The interviewer asks Modi about the Congress. He was also asked about the daily criticism being meted out to him by Priyanka Gandhi.
To this Modi said he would not say anything about her. She is speaking against me to help her brother as a sister. She is speaking against me to help her mother as a daughter in the elections, Modi replied.
Sources say that some within the Prasar Bharti felt that Modi would have a upper hand morally if this portion was played out in the interview. These portions were clipped and then the interview played.
However there was more confusion added when a newspaper misreported the interview. It said that in the interview Modi had called Priyanka Gandhi his daughter and this portion was edited by DD. When reporters sought a reaction from Priyanka, she said, " My father is Rajeev Gandhi." The CEO could have stepped in and clarified, but he did not do so.
Finally the issue was put to rest when Modi's team who had the footage of the complete interview put the same out in public domain.