DD officer suspended for not beaming PM Modi’s speech

Chennai: A senior Doordarshan Chennai Kendra official has been placed under suspension and “disciplinary proceedings” initiated against her allegedly for not telecasting live a part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech during his visit to Chennai earlier this week.

In an order dated October 1, Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer Shashi Shekhar Vempati said that R Vasumathi, Assistant Director (Programme), DD Chennai Kendra, has been suspended with “immediate effect,” pending disciplinary proceedings. She has been asked not to leave Chennai without obtaining permission from Vempati.

While the order did not mention any specific reason for the strong action against her, sources at the DD Chennai Kendra, which handles programmes for DD Podhigai, the Tamil television channel of the national broadcaster, said that the decision was prompted over “coverage of the Prime Minister’s visit.”

Modi had visited Chennai on Monday and spoke at three places – the Chennai airport where he made a short speech to his supporters, addressed the Hackathon meet at the IIT Madras Research Park and delivered the 56th convocation address at the IIT Madras.

“The airport address and the convocation address were telecast live in DD Podhigai, as also in DD National and most private television channels, in full.

The Hackathon address was only partly live and the rest was covered in the regular news bulletin,” a DD official said requesting anonymity.

However, a Delhi-based retired journalist with open right wing leanings who hails from Tamil Nadu, took objection to this and flagged it on the microblogging site Twitter. 

“He tagged Modi, the PMO, Information and Broadcasting Ministry and DD head office in his tweet and even insinuated that the live coverage was not done at the behest of a DMK or CPI (M) sympathiser inside DD Chennai Kendra.

This is far-fetched. We suspect that someone inimical to Vasumathi could have used the former journalist to cause her trouble,” said the official. He added that the former journalist had also tweeted her suspension letter. 

“In any case, all three functions were live on DD National, our sister channel,” he added. There were reports that Vasumathi had not telecast the speech live despite being instructed to do so by Delhi. This could not be independently verified.

BY DRAVIDA THAMBI

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