The saffron party has accused the UPA government of wrongdoing, saying the deliberate omission of some sensitive parts took place due to the government pressure despite the public broadcaster claiming that there was no purposeful exclusion under any kind of stress from the authority.

The government has also denied any hand in the alleged omission of the part of the interview in which Modi is believed to have said that Priyanka Gandhi was like his daughter, arguing that Prasar Bharati, which runs DD, is autonomous.

To Modi’s reference that she was like her daughter, Priyanka replied on Thursday that she was only Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter.

Another reference by Modi in the interview, calling Ahmed Patel one of his good friends in the Congress party, was also allegedly omitted.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday accused the Congress of pressuring Doordarshan and curtailing the public broadcaster’s freedom of speech.

"Prasar Bharti is an independent body. Somewhere pressure has been exerted and the interview has been censored and cut," Sitharaman told a press conference in the national capital.
    
"It is a shame, when at one point of time Congress party speaks about freedom of speech, there is still space for censor and Congress party is misusing this power," she said while seeking an answer from the Prasar Bharati or the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Denying any wrongdoing, Doordarshan clarified in a statement, "there was no deliberate editing or omission of any portion of the interview. Wherever editing was done, it was for technical reasons and during post-production. There was no interference or control from any authority in the entire process."
    
Insisting that there was no attempt to downplay the interview, DD said, “Important portions of the interview were used in all the important bulletins of DD News also....It was given wide pre-telecast publicity and was repeated the next day."
    
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also elucidated that his ministry does not interfere in Doordarshan's news agenda as it has an ‘arm's length relationship with Prasar Bharati, which is an autonomous broadcaster by an act of Parliament’.
    
Targeting the government, Sitharaman said senior Congress leader and Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal tried to use power to control the social media sometime ago and added that the government was now ‘trying it on Doordarshan’.
    
In its statement, Doordarshan gave the sequence of events saying the interview with Modi was recorded at Gandhinagar on April 26.

It said that DD news had made a request for an half an hour interview.
    
"This was a three camera production as Shri Modi gave this interview while walking on his lawns and required lot of post production before putting on air. The team came back from
Gandhinagar in the late night on 26th and after that post production was done to telecast it in a fixed slot," it added.
    
The broadcaster also said that it had publicised the programme by making announcements on the social media as well.
    
"The announcement was run in scroll and teaser along with Shri Modi's visual was also constantly run.  The interview time was announced extensively," the statement said.

Meanwhile, an unedited version of the entire interview was posted on the Gujarat Chief Minister’s website as it is believed the whole interview was recorded separately by the Gujarat government for their perusal.

(JPN/Agencies)

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