RSTV-Blatant, Biased, Bigotry


RSTV continues be in the news for wrong reasons consistently. This time again there is serious allegation of nepotism in appointment at senior level position of Executive Editor. What is even more worrisome is that this is happening even when the House is in session. It is being said that the appointment to the post of Executive Editor was already decided in February 2018 and current interview process is just a sham.

And here is another instance of blatant biased bigot favouratism by Rajya Sabha Television (RSTV). This time with the selection of Executive Editor that was advertised on 7 May 2018 culminated in an interview on 23 July 2018. Sources close to the process claim that the entire exercise was merely eyewash as the decision on the name of Executive Editor (EE) had already been taken in February 2018. In fact they claim that the Search and Select Committee formed to recommend the name of Editor-in-Chief (EnC) not just selected the EnC but also unilaterally recommended the name of Executive Editor also. Surprisingly RSTV secretariat had neither asked for the name of the EE or had informed the committee that the position was vacant. This clearly shows that the committee had sat with a premeditated mandate and made recommendations as per master’s voice. The committee recommended the name of Rahul Mahajan as EnC and Vibhakar as EE as per the claim of insiders.

On 21 October 2017 Venkiah Nadu, the newly elected Chairman Rajya Sabha formed a six member Search & Select Committee for “Appointing” the Editor-in-Chief of RSTV. The committee was headed by A Suryaprakash, Chairman Prasar Bharati Board of India. The committee also had Shashi Shekhar Vempatti, CEO, Prasar Bharati with additional charge of CEO RSTV and Swapna Das Gupta, Member Parliament (Rajya Sabha) also a senior journalist, A A Rao, Additional Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat and incharge RSTV and Rahul Shrivastava, Senior Journalist

Sources in the know of the entire proceedings say that the blatant nepotism in making these appointments is actually contained in the files in Rajya Sabha Secretariat files.

At the time of appointment of EnC also there was a lot of hue and cry in the media however this has come out for the first time that the fact that Search and Select Committee went beyond its assigned mandate and without the prior and express approval of Chairman, Rajya Sabha who is also the head of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat recommended unsolicited advice to the Chairman.

However what baffles one more is that not just was the committee dissolved immediately for transgression and privileges of the Chairman and the Upper House to which the channel is answerable the recommendations were received and implemented in part then and are being implemented in part now.

Those in the know of the matter point out that since a lot of questions were raised in the media regarding the process the particular Search and Select Committee was disbanded and a new one formed. However they say that this is merely a paint job because nothing much has really changed.

Their contention is the constitution of the committee. Recalling the previous committee they point out that it was headed by A Suryaprakash, Chairman Prasar Bharati, had Shashi Shekhar Vempatti, CEO, Prasar Bharati with additional charge of CEO RSTV, A A Rao, Additional Secretary, Rajya Sabha Secretariat and incharge RSTV, Rahul Shrivastava, Senior Journalist. All four are included in the current committee for the selection of the Executive Editor RSTV.

The current committee is also a six member committee and from the names above nothing is left to imagination that the recommendation of the previous committee is unlikely to change. But that is not all. One must look at the names of other two members of the current committee too.

The fifth member of the committee is the direct beneficiary of the Search and Select Committee. No guesses here. The fifth member o the committee is of course Rahul Mahajan appointed as EnC.

Now in six member committee five members are on one side can the decision be on the other side, hardly. But to add legitimacy to the recommendations to be made by this particular committee one big name was definitely required. Last time it was Swapn Dasgupta and this time Ram Bahadur Rai, Chairman IGNCA was included in the committee.

However one against five is no match. And there is the regular method of elimination of any probable threats through the process of “Short Listing”.

Now the most important piece of information both Rahul Shrivastav and Ram Bahadur Rai kept away from the selection meeting despite being in the town. In view of this questions will be asked about continuing with this process in absence of any independent member. Of course A Suryaprakash, Chairman Prasar Bharati can claim to be independent member but hardly.