M K Gupta
Free Lance Journalist,
19.7.2011-Akashwani or All India Radio is not liable for any inaccuracy, error, omission in its news bulletins. This was declared in its website policy which was available for the first time on its website newsonair.nic.in on 19th July. Many listeners pointed out disinformation being disseminated in its bulletins about the swoop on Baba Ramdev’s camp at Ramlila Ground on the night of 4th June. The morning bulletin of 5th June stated “A police spokesman said, when Baba Ramdev refused to comply with the order of revoking permission, police had to swing into action in the wee hours today.” The bulletin also declared, Earlier in the day government had sent an explanatory note to the Yoga Guru on the demands made by him including the framing up of a law for declaring black money stashed in foreign banks as national asset. “The government maintained with this note all demands of Baba Ramdev have been met with and all his doubts clarified”. I have asked for the copy of the note by filing RTI delivered on 22.06.2011 which was transferred to Home Ministry and the Home Ministry has forwarded it to the Delhi Police. The Delhi Police seems to be least concerned about such policy decisions. I am still awaiting reply of my RTI application.
Some citizens also filed RTI applications pointing-out mistakes in the news bulletins that followed the swoop on 5th June seeking information about the same. The website policy now declared has clandestinely declared AIR is not legally responsible for its contents as the same states that its contents cannot be used even in the Court of Law without prior written permission of the AIR. Though, the very purpose of formation of the Prasar Bharati was to free the National Broadcasters, Doordarshan and AIR from the Govt. but from such events, it is obvious that AIR is a mouthpiece of the Government and at the time of crisis, AIR may repeat the same.
Now, Anna Hazare has declared to sit on fast again from 16th August if the Govt. will not present the Lolpal Bill jointly drafted by the Drafting Committee and in that event, it will be interesting to watch the role of the AIR.