oppn parties Prasar Bharati, PTI And National Interest

News Snippets

  • University vice-chancellors in West Bengal decide not to hold final-year examinations despite UGC prod, will instead go by the state government advised 80-20 formula where 80% will be marked on performance in past semesters and 20% on internal assessments in the final semester
  • The Centre wants the ITI and other top Indian firms to bid for 5G as Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE are not likely to be allowed to participate
  • India and China agree on total disengagement to return to peace ahead of the next round of military talks
  • The Supreme Court allows delivery of summons and notices via WhatsApp and email, but questions remain on proof of actual receipt
  • National Investigation Agency says the proceeds from the Kerala gold smuggling case could have been used for terrorist activities
  • Four Maoists shot dead in Valmiki Tiger Reserve in Bihar
  • Despite localized lockdown, Covid cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in West Bengal. Newer areas brought under containment zones in Kolkata
  • ICSE, ISC results declared, Average scores in the English paper, 20% lower this year than the average in most years, pulls down the aggregate for most candidates
  • IIP contracts by 35% in May. Manufacturing goes down by 39.3%
  • Row erupts over CBSE's decision to reduce the syllabus by 30% this academic year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic. Experts say several lessons that the ruling dispensation does not like are being removed
  • Gangster Vikas Dubey's nephew killed in an encounter by UP police who also pick up his key aide Raju Khullar and his son Adarsh
  • MHA sets up an inter-ministerial committee to probe the alleged financial misdeeds of three trusts linked to the Gandhi family
  • Actor Jagdeep, most famous for his Soorma Bhopali act in Sholay, passes away
  • Pakistan says Kulbhushan Jadhav has declined to file a review petition and will stick to his mercy plea. India calls it a farce
  • India to keep a strict vigil to confirm that the Chinese are abiding by the deal on the pullback at the LAC
Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek admitted to hospital for coronavirus
oppn parties
Prasar Bharati, PTI And National Interest

By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2020-06-29 13:21:43

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.

Prasar Bharati, the state-run broadcasting agency that controls All India Radio and Doordarshan, has threatened to stop subscribing to the news feeds from Press Trust of India as it is allegedly publishing news that is not in the national interest.

What is national interest? Is it a synonym of "ruling-party interest"? Who defines it, and how?

The trigger for Prasar Bharati's threat was perhaps the interview PTI conducted with the Indian envoy to China Vikram Misri where the ambassador is quoted as making statements that ran counter to the government's stated response that there was no intrusion by China.

In the first tweet, PTI wrote that "India hopes China will realize its responsibility in de-escalation and disengaging by moving back to its side of LAC: Indian envoy to China". In the second tweet, it wrote that "China has to stop the practice of transgressing and trying to erect structures on the Indian side of the LAC: Indian envoy to China".

The statements made by envoy Vikram Misri in his interview were in direct contrast to the position taken by Prime Minister Modi in his interaction with state chief ministers when he had categorically said that no one had intruded into Indian territory.

But what was PTI's fault? Has it put words in the mouth of the envoy? Or has it published false statements? Neither the envoy nor the government has denied the statements. If at all anyone is at 'fault' then it is the envoy as he should have been briefed not to say anything that ran counter to the stated position of the government. But can the envoy speak untruths or hide facts just to please the government? Will that be in national interest?

This is where the real meaning of national interest comes in. National interest is best served by people in power making truthful disclosures of all that is happening in the country, except perhaps things that might put the security of the nation at risk. If China had intruded and if it was given to erecting structures in Indian-held areas, these facts needed to be in the public domain. The envoy was acting in national interest by disclosing the facts. PTI was also acting in national interest by publishing what he said. But Prasar Bharati is not acting in national interest by threatening to stop subscribing to the news feed of PTI.

It is a weak and absurd plea that disclosing that China had intruded into Indian territory would have lowered the morale of the armed forces or reduced India's bargaining power. In fact, with satellite pictures showing how far inside the Chinese had come in and how they were building structures in areas that were not theirs, India should not and could not have hidden the actual position from anyone. The morale of the armed forces would have been boosted enormously if the government had forcefully said that the Chinese had intruded and we have to make them leave through negotiations, failing which we will have to throw them out. That statement would have definitely been in national interest.