India’s Public broadcaster Prasar Bharat has signed an exclusive two-year contract with the Hindusthan Samachar, a news agency with ties to the Hindu far-right group Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
According to The Wire report, Prasar Bharati, which runs Doordarshan and All India Radio, signed an exclusive contract on On 14 February, two years after cancelling its subscription to prominent news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).
While the report claims, Hindusthan Samachar has been providing its wire services to Prasar Bharati free of cost since 2017 on an “evaluation basis”, Indian Express reported that the public broadcaster had earlier signed an agreement with Hindusthan Samachar in 2020.
“We had a prior contract with Hindusthan Samachar, which was renewed this month,” Prasar Bharati CEO Gaurav Dwivedi told The Indian Express on Sunday.
In 2020, Prasar Bharati termed PTI’s coverage of the border row between India and China as “anti-national”.
Hindusthan Samachar was founded in 1948 by Shivram Shankar Apte, an RSS leader and co-founder of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.
Reports about the new deal saw backlash from opposition leaders and critics of the Union government.
“The move by @prasarbharati to make Hindustan Samachar, a news agency with links to Sangh Parivar, the sole news source for @DDNational & @AkashvaniAIR is an attempt to saffronize news and silence dissent. Secular and democratic forces must unite to resist such communal schemes,” Kerala Chief Minister and CPIM leader Pinarayi Vijayan tweeted.