NEW DELHI: India’s
national broadcaster Prasar Bharati
threatened to pull the plug on its
of the country's biggest news agency,
Press Trust of India
(PTI), on Saturday apparently on grounds that recent reportage by the trustrun agency on China was “antinational”. In a letter to the PTI board on Saturday, Prasar Bharati is understood to have said the agency's coverage of the ‘China issue’ was “detrimental to national interest” and even “undermined India’s territorial integrity”.
In its reaction, PTI in an official statement said, “We have received a letter from the Prasar Bharati this afternoon. We are examining it and will respond in due course with the facts." Sources said the Prasar Bharati letter pointed to “editorial lapses” and alleged that the news agency had behaved in a manner that was “contrary to the values” that Prasar Bharati was mandated to uphold. As a result, the
said it would no longer be “tenable to continue the relationship” with PTI. The immediate flash point seems to have been an interview of the Chinese ambassador to India and issues regarding an interview with the Indian ambassador in Beijing.
The public broadcaster also claimed it supported the news agency by paying a “huge” annual fee running into several crores for many years and accused the agency of being “rigid” on the issue of rationalisation of subscription fees. Prasar Bharati is one of the biggest subscribers of PTI and pays over Rs 6.75 crore to the news agency for an annual subscription. Sources said Prasar Bharati will take a formal decision on snapping ties soon.