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DD Nepal ‘fiasco’

New Delhi, Aug. 4: Doordarshan has been left red-faced by its shoddy coverage of Narendra Modi’s Kathmandu trip yesterday, highlighted by its move to beam the visuals of a Nepali channel despite having sent teams.

Officials at the government broadcaster, ticked off by the information and broadcasting ministry, indicated action would follow for the “technical glitches and lack of co-ordination” which meant DD News failed to telecast the Prime Minister’s arrival in the Nepal capital and other key engagements.

DD had to fall back on the footage of an Indian private TV news channel — which in turn was showing Nepal 1 TV images — for Modi’s address to the Constituent Assembly and for his meetings with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and other Nepal leaders.

The problems during the first bilateral visit to the Himalayan nation by an Indian Prime Minister in 17 years occurred despite the fact that two teams of DD crew and correspondents had been sent to Kathmandu and stationed there a few days before the trip.

DD appeared to have mounted a damage-control attempt today, Modi’s last day in Nepal, with longer-than-usual visuals after having missed the key events of yesterday.

“The poor coverage by the public broadcaster was noticed by senior BJP leaders, after which they informed the information and broadcasting ministry. DD officials were pulled up. As a result, coverage was much better today,” said a DD source.

For the Nepal trip, the DD source said “there was no clear roadmap”. “There was no senior official in the programming department and the task was left to juniors in the editorial wing who decided to source the visuals from a private channel as the (DD) crew could not send the footage because of snags.”

Asked about it, DD News director-general S.M. Khan said he was “travelling and was not in the know of events at the moment”. “I can comment only once I am back in Delhi on Tuesday,” Khan said.

The sources said the coverage of Modi’s visits to Bhutan and Brazil too were blighted by goof-ups.