The national broadcaster, Prasar Bharati, and DD news channel weren't asked to cover the early morning swearing-in ceremony of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, The Economic Times has reported.
Fadnavis took oath in a hush-hush ceremony on the morning of November 23 along with Ajit Pawar, who was made the Deputy Chief Minister.
According to the ET report, DD was not even informed about the event. The channel's Mumbai unit was not informed, and neither was the Mumbai Doordarshan Kendra. The report states that the All India Radio (AIR) was informed at the last minute since its correspondent was in touch with Fadnavis' office.
According to the report, while DD news showed a six-minute news report with visuals from ANI— the only media organisation reportedly present during that time— AIR's news bulletin did have the news but it said 'details awaited'. The report states that the DD news report had a correspondent's telephonic explainer, in which he called the development a "shocker that no one was aware of".
According to the report, the Marathi bulletin of the event at 8:45 am also did not have any original visuals from the event.
This assumes importance since the public broadcaster's programme guidelines mandate that about 12 types of events need to be covered live by Doordarshan and AIR.
Ceremonies such as the Independence Day, Republic Day, Cabinet swearing-in, oath-taking ceremonies of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the President's address come under 'national hook-up events' which need to be covered by DD.
Oath-taking ceremonies of Governors and chief justices of high courts, state cabinet swearing-in etc need to be covered live and come under 'state events', according to the report.
"Ideally, given the event's importance, it should have been live telecast by Doordarshan with a multi-camera setup, and also covered by AIR with bilingual commentary. But since everything happened so hurriedly, it is possible that there was no time to inform us and wait till the arrangements," an official told the newspaper.
According to the report, the responsibility of informing the public broadcaster about important events and ensuring their live coverage falls on the director of information and public relations of the state government. During President's rule, it usually falls on the Governor's office, the report states.
A former official told the newspaper that the Doordarshan coverage would have involved following protocol and mobilising the government's communication machinery, distribution of photographs to press units, ensuring flash points in all DD channels and intimating other channels about free-to-air feed.
"It is possible that they wanted minimum publicity till the swearing-in was done. But as Prasar Bharati is answerable to the parliament, Maharashtra administration officials should have ensured their presence during the ceremony. This is also about record keeping," the official said.