The Press Club of India (PCI) has issued a very strong statement in favour of news agency PTI and against public broadcaster Prasar Bharti as well as the Centre.
The PCI in a statement alleged that the warring letter to PTI was an act of the government “through its proxy, Prasar Bharati”.
Prasar Bharti, India’s public broadcaster, had recently sent a letter threatening to end its “relationship” over the alleged “anti-national” reportage by the news agency Press Trust of India (PTI). It came soon after the PTI carried an interview of Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, where he blamed India for the India-China violent standoff that saw 20 Indian bravehearts getting martyred.
In a strongly worded statement, the PCI alleged, “For its pains, PB (Prasar Bharti) has accused PTI of acting to the ‘detriment’ of ‘national interest’. This is preposterous and unacceptable. A bureaucratic outfit has arrogated to itself the right to define the ‘national interest’ and pass judgments on what constitutes news…”
Prasar Bharti’s letter was sent to PTI just ahead of its board meeting on Saturday where the public broadcaster expressed “deep displeasure on anti-national reporting by PTI”.
Speaking to The Print, PTI’s former Editor-in-Chief M.K. Razdan clarified that the Chinese Embassy had put out a distorted version of the interview, long before PTI uploaded it.
Razdan alleged that some of the questions used by the Embassy were not the same posed by the news agency. He even claimed that to the best of his knowledge, PTI has shot off a strong letter to the Chinese Embassy.
“Today the PTI board again has a former Chief Justice of India, a former Foreign Secretary of India…plus the doyen of the India media industry…they all sit on the board. Do you think they will allow anything that is detrimental to national interests? It’s unthinkable,” Razdan said.
He also added that contrary to the image that is sought to be painted, Prasar Bharti doesn’t not fund or subsidise PTI, but pays a subscription fee for its host of news services.
Meanwhile, the Press Club of India, in its statement that has been issued by President Anand K. Sahay and Secretary General Anant Bagaitkar, went a step further to allege that the government is been trying to interfere in the working of the news agency and this present interview has become a “convenient trick” for itself to financially attack the agency.