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No ‘Muslims’, ‘communal authoritarian regime’: Opp leaders Sitaram Yechury, G Devarajan censored by Doordarshan, AIR

TWO LEADERS from the Opposition were asked to drop the terms “communal authoritarian regime” and “draconian laws” and the word “Muslims” from their speeches made on All India Radio and Doordarshan during the broadcast time allocated to them in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.

While CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury had to delete the two terms and replace the word “bankruptcy” of the governance with “failure” during his televised address in the Doordarshan studio in the national capital, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB) leader G Devarajan was asked to avoid the word “Muslims” in his address recorded in Kolkata.

When asked about it, an official in Prasar Bharati said both Doordarshan and All India Radio follow the “conduct rules” given by the Election Commission of India (ECI). “But it happens with most leaders. There were instances in which even the chief ministers’ texts were corrected,” the official said.

The guidelines require speakers to refrain from criticism of other countries, attack on religions or communities, incitement of violence or anything amounting to contempt of court, aspersions on the integrity of the President and judiciary, criticism by name of any person, anything affecting the unity, sovereignty and integrity of the nation, and anything obscene or defamatory.

Under the ECI’s orders issued in April, representatives of national parties and state parties are allotted telecast and broadcast time on Doordarshan and AIR in the run up to the election. The directive said “six national parties and 59 state parties” were eligible for the telecast and broadcast facility under the provisions of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.

When contacted, Yechury told The Indian Express,

Read more on indianexpress.com