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Doordarshan’s Transition to Saffron Draws Widespread Condemnation

DD’s historic emblem, steeped in tradition, has now been imbued with “saffron symbolism,” says Jawahar Sarkar, former CEO of Prasar Bharati.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Doordarshan, the venerable institution shaping India’s televised landscape, finds itself embroiled in controversy as it unveils a significant alteration to its emblematic logo. In a move stirring widespread debate and criticism, the broadcaster has transitioned its iconic red logo to a saffron hue, sparking fervent reactions from both political figures and the public alike.

The unveiling of Doordarshan’s revamped logo was accompanied by a promotional video on the English news channel of the network. In the video, the broadcaster heralds its transformation, proclaiming, “Our values remain steadfast, as we embrace a new avatar. Prepare for an unprecedented news journey with the all-new DD News.”

However, the rebranding has drawn widespread criticism. Social media platforms have become a battleground of opinion, with many users expressing surprise and suspicion over the timing of the change, insinuating political motivations amid the ongoing general elections.

Jawahar Sarkar, former head of Doordarshan’s parent organisation and a prominent member of the Trinamool Congress, conveyed his disappointment with the move. In an online post, Sarkar lamented the transformation, denouncing it as the “saffroning” of Doordarshan’s legacy. He remarked, “It is disheartening to witness the national broadcaster succumb to political hues during election season. Doordarshan’s historic emblem, steeped in tradition, has now been imbued with saffron symbolism.”

Sarkar, who served as the CEO of Prasar Bharati from 2012 to 2016, raised concerns over what he perceives as a departure from the institution’s foundational principles. “It is no longer Prasar Bharati; it has metamorphosed into Prachar Bharati,” he lamented, highlighting what he sees as a blatant violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Contrary to Sarkar’s stance, Gaurav Dwivedi, the current head of Prasar Bharati, defended the rebranding initiative. Speaking to The Indian Express, Dwivedi underscored that the logo alteration is part of a broader overhaul aimed at modernising the network’s visual identity and technological infrastructure. Dwivedi emphasised that the changes encompass not only the logo but also upgrades in lighting, equipment, and overall presentation. He refuted allegations of political bias, asserting that the transformation is rooted in the broadcaster’s commitment to adapt and evolve with the times.

As the debate rages on, the controversy surrounding Doordarshan’s logo metamorphosis underscores the intersection of politics, tradition, and modernisation within India’s media landscape. While proponents applaud the broadcaster’s efforts to embrace change, critics warn of the dangers of politicising a cherished national institution.

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