National broadcaster Doordarshan on Wednesday refuted allegations of intentionally blacking out the Independence Day speech of Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and said that the reports are 'totally incorrect'
Doordarshan in its letter stated that the News Unit of the local station of Doordarshan has given wide coverage to the public address of the Chief Minister and the development activity of the state government.
"On August 15 2017, Doordarshan gave a wide coverage to the Chief Minister's Independence Day programme and telecast reports running to 29 minutes and 45 seconds. Out of which the Chief Minister's speech coverage was for 12 minutes," the letter read.
Doordarshan even claimed that the show was repeat telecasted on August 16 and added that the speech and Independence Day programme in various district of Tripura was give wide publicity in the Regional News Bulletin.
"Therefore, the allegation that Doordarshan Kendra, Agartala blacked out the Chief Minister on Independence Day is totally incorrect and is vehemently refuted."
The Chief Minister on Tuesday alleged that Doordarshan and All India Radio refused to broadcast his customary Independence Day speech and asked him to rewrite and rerecord it.
The public broadcasters allegedly did not air Sarkar's speech which was scheduled to be aired at 6.30 am on Tuesday.
As per the media reports, the Chief Minister's Office was informed via a letter that his speech would not be broadcast unless he "reshaped it".
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM) strongly condemned the move and also released an official statement.
"This is a gross infringement on the right of a Chief Minister to address the people of his state on Independence Day. This act is a reminiscent of the Emergency days and goes beyond as it seeks to gag the elected Chief Minister of a state. The Central Government is trampling upon the autonomy of Doordarshan/AIR and Prasar Bharati by such acts of censorship," the statement read.
The CPM also demanded an action against "those responsible for prohibiting the broadcast," adding, "the Modi Government should stop treating the Prasar Bharati as a department of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting."
The party also tweeted the text of Manik Sarkar's Independence Day speech on their Twitter handle, adding, "Text of Tripura CM's Speech which AIR & DD had the audacity to censor. This is an insult 2 People of Tripura & Constitutional Rights of States."