The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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DD drops own team for Iraq coverage

New Delhi, Feb. 18: In a blatant admission of how poorly it assesses its own news services team, Doordarshan today announced that it has contracted a private company of professional journalists to cover a possible war in Iraq.

Doordarshan director-general S.Y. Quraishi said Saeed Naqvi’s Third Eye Television (TET) has been contracted for Rs 5 lakh a day for 20 days to despatch a team of reporters to the Gulf.

“Our journalists do not have the experience and the access for such an eventuality,” Quraishi told a press conference. “We are not in a position to take all the risks.”

Doordarshan sources said the management of the public broadcaster had taken the flak from the ministry because it did not cover the war in Afghanistan on its own and relied on footage from foreign news agencies.

“Afghanistan is in India’s backyard and we could do nothing. So this time we did not take chances,” the sources said. They said that DD’s news presentation from March 3 would be “slicker”.

Doordarshan has regional news units spread across the country. Each regional news unit has at least two assistant news editors and a news editor apart from a correspondent. In Delhi alone, it has 45 full-time reporters, many of them with more than 10 years in journalism. Doordarshan news also relies on 300 All India Radio correspondents.

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