First time since Prasar Bharati came into existence, one observes despondency brimming in every domain of media activity that portends death knell of autonomy. As such it was always farcical to call it autonomous when the entire set of Members headed by a Chairman absolutely inept as Policy makers. The caliber of entire Board now well exposed one wonders if they were really serving any purpose. Yet they have the gumption to ask for more ‘fees and five star hotel stay’ – and how could the Board pass an unreasonable and illegal “unanimous decision” demanding that? Prasar Bharati Act is designed for the well being of organization and not these hungry Members and they cannot serve interests of part-time Members with all that urgency. That reflects the caliber of Chairman and CEO who it appears has not understood the tenets of P B Act. Perhaps Junior Officers from organization have better understanding of medium and its requirements than the dead wood feasted on public money. The less said about CEO and his team the better, who never addressed concerns or developed policy to push the organization up.
The most deplorable is the role of Surya Prakash- Chairman of Board who put a damper on the organization with utter lack of knowledge and vision. He called himself a crusader perhaps for the campaign he built against Sonia Gandhi’s nationality once that made him a darling of RSS. But over long period he could not establish his credentials for the job he was entrusted. It saddens how a dull and feckless leader foisted to run Prasar Bharati that was in need of dynamism and ideas. Sources even say, he has more than once told people that he would discharge what asked to – and that’s how he translates autonomy.
Prasar Bharati was already grappling with an ineffective CEO whose entire tenure mired in controversies even forced staff to oppose him in many meetings and all for his wavering and unreasonable behaviour. One now hears of Court cases against him by staff officers speak of the respect he earned during period and let one not forget the strike that forced one of his favourite Advisors kicked out of office. Many RTIs one learns still pending which shall eventually expose his misuse of authority and frittering public funds. That might be a serious charge then. No wonder he had to put in his papers with whatsoever excuse is a big relief for organization. But both stand guilty for squandering public money without delivery- the outcome is absolute disarrangement and confusion. These are the glaring lows organization witnessed under the Chairman.
If RSS rejoiced having their appointee as Chairman they equally went faceless when Surya Prakash, Chairman ensured that Naresh Sirohi, a Consultant sent by RSS to oversee the content for DD Kisan kicked out ignominiously. Media sources covering rumblings in Keshav Kunj were well heard and he was even reprimanded as sources say. Not only that he failed to steer DD Kisan out of irrelevance and all his tall claims as an expert went phut. Why was Sirohi kicked out – Sources say he pointed out irregularities and corruption that was objected by Chairman who was more close to the ones he got from a private TV Channel than the RSS. He eventually threw the RSS appointee disregarding the prime body. If this has credence, it’s a slur on the guiding spirit of RSS.
Kisan Channel was proudly announced from Red Fort and Prime Minister was made to believe that he was the ideal bet. Surya Prakash proved worst than all appointees till inception of Prasar Bharati for not only failing the channel but inane media vision that one saw. He is accused of sheltering inexperienced hands from private Channel where he served as Advisor and staff is now openly questioning his that role even. Since BJP came to power not a single policy was framed that could give respite to a dying organization.
Perhaps a team of junior Officers or seniors drawn from the retired list would have given better ideas on how to create content and bettering system than people who were clueless about needs of public broadcaster. Surya Prakash has to share burden of insipidity and complicity if he never raised crackle against induction of incompetents from other organization. He was a mute witness to horde of Advisors CEO inducted without Rules and procedure and wasted public funds for years … The Chairman sources say, never questioned those inductions and till date has not inquired how incompetent contractual staff made way as Content Managers … Imagine Typists and Computer Operators given that status cements the ability of deputationist officers who all are accused of lowering professional standards of Doordarshan … There are reports of sleaze and exploitation that goes unhindered and one learns of such temporary staff used by some Administrative and Engineering hands. The Chairman sources further confirm, has never questioned Member Personnel why contractual staff was denied Provident Fund and Medical facilities when the money was deducted from salaries – No one found who stole that money and strange reason for DG Doordarshan remaining quiet over referring matter to CBI or filing an FIR.
Surya Prakash as the Chairman would have to own responsibility for repeated announcements of Slot Auction Policy that is not finding favour in the market and he needs to devise other and better means to attract software. For once, Slot Auction Policy reeks of corruption and tie-ups between some Board Members and undue urgency expressed by CEO for reasons now many say are vested. More than him, market is replete with stories of business tie-ups with two known production houses where Member Finance too is named through an Engineer attached with him as go-between and that assume seriousness to plot. Matter as such has been reported to premier investigative agency as the story goes but Chairman has lot to do to better his image and standing if he really intends someone to remember him.