Prasar Bharati’s CEO Jawhar Sircar had a tough time explaining the goings-on in Doordarshan to a parliamentary committee recently and faced scathing criticism for painting a very poor picture of the public broadcaster.
The parliamentary standing committee on information technology called Sircar and Information and Broadcasting secretary Bimal Julka for a review of Prasar Bharati’s performance. “It will be a matter of breach of privilege to talk or write about the proceedings of a standing committee,” Sircar told HT.
The panel was particularly irked with Sircar for his constant whining and for projecting a negative view of Doordarshan. While Sircar pointed out several shortcomings, Julka maintained that everything was right with the public broadcaster and claimed a survey showed that DD viewers were the “most satisfied lot”.
One MP described Sircar as the captain of a cricket team who concedes defeat even before the match starts and then asks his players to go out to play.
After Sircar finished his presentation, where he highlighted several problems of the public broadcaster, another MP said that contrary to the CEO’s claims of digitisation, the public broadcaster was still in a “dinosaur era.” “If I want a digital copy of a 1995 speech of Lal Krishna Advani, I have to send someone to DD office. The DD officials will calculate the length of the speech and tell me the charges. Then, I have to go back, make a demand draft and return to DD office to get a CD,” said an MP. A doctor-turned MP wondered if Sircar would need “psychiatric help” to tackle the situation in Doordarshan.
After Julka contradicted him, Sircar sought a second hearing, but stuck to his stand and said, “As a good doctor, I have given an X-ray of DD. I can also treat it.”
Anurag Thakur, chairman of the panel, retorted, “We have two doctors (Sircar and Julka) saying exactly opposite things. Don’t know who we should trust!”