Five DD staff suspended after PM faux pas

Rape saga continues: Broadcaster orders probe to find out why team reached late

Five DD staff suspended after PM faux pas

Five Doordarshan employees were suspended for failing to reach Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 7 Race Course Road residence well in time to record his speech on the gang-rape of a physiotherapist, a day after his faux pas during the televised address to the nation landed him in the eye of storm.

The national broadcaster has also initiated an inquiry to ascertain why the team, comprising two camera persons and three staff of the engineering wing, faltered in their duty.

As the Doordarshan crew arrived late, the speech was recorded by news agency ANI.
Private news channels telecast the unedited version of Singh’s address, which shows him asking somebody “theek hai (all right)?” at the end of the speech.  Though the remark could have been an innocuous query by the prime minister to others present at the time of the recording on whether the speech was “all right,” the snippet gave an impression to certain people that Singh was not sensitive to the issue of gang-rape. Though the ANI later corrected the editing error, the damage had already been done.

Many in Doordarshan, however, felt that their colleagues were made scapegoats to cover up the lapses of officials. Sources in Doordarshan said though the crew was expected to reach the prime minister’s residence by 9:30 am on Monday, they were informed about the assignment only after 7 am. The cameramen reached the venue at 9:40 am, while three others joined them a little after 10 am.  By the time the Doordarshan cameramen reached, ANI had started recording the address.

“Even if Doordarshan staff failed to reach the venue on time and could not record the prime minister’s speech, it was the duty of the officials to ensure that an edited version of his speech goes on air as is usually done by Doordarshan,” sources in Doordarshan said, adding that the crew was late because of traffic restrictions on important roads leading to the prime minister’s residence.

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