Mumbai: With Opposition attacking government over Doordarshan's live telecast of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat's speech, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday said that Prasar Bharati takes its own decisions and wondered why objections were being raised when it was a "newsworthy" event covered by private channels too.
He also suggested that Doordarshan may not have covered the RSS chief's speech live in the past because of "restrictions" placed by earlier regimes.
"Already Prasar Bharati takes its own decisions and I don't know why they were not showing earlier. It's a news worthy event. All private news channels are showing it. Then why DD should be banned?" the I&B minister asked.
Javadekar said that DD News carries live speeches of leaders of Congress and other political parties. "At that time nobody speaks," he said.
Speaking about the one-hour telecast of an RSS function for the first time by the national broadcaster, Javadekar said that "earlier there may be restrictions that this should not be shown. We have not put any restrictions. So they are covering all news worthy events."
He also added that many people wanted to listen to the speech which was widely watched.
When a reporter asked him about how an event that was not covered during the last ten years suddenly became news-worthy for Doordarshan after BJP's coming to power, Javadekar replied that it was due to "trampling" on DD's freedom by earlier UPA regimes that such events were not covered.
He said that at that time the question why RSS chief's speech "was being blocked" should have been asked.
Congress and Left parties have slammed the live telecast of Bhagwat's speech, terming it as "misuse" of Doordarshan.
"It is a dangerous tradition. This is not an organisation which is completely neutral. It is a controversial organisation," Congress spokesman Sandeep Dikshit said, adding it is a political decision of the government.
The CPI also condemned the live telecast with its National Secretary D Raja saying the government, particularly the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, should give an explanation to the people "for allowing DD to be the mouthpiece for the RSS".