Blow to linguistic federalism as Sansad TV replaces English speeches with Hindi voice-overs

While RSP MP NK Premachandran called it ‘Hindi imposition‘, Congress MP Sasikanth Senthil accused Sansad TV of invisibilising the Opposition.

ByNolan Patrick Pinto

Published Jul 04, 2024 | 9:00 AM Updated Jul 04, 2024 | 9:00 AM

Sansad TV replaces MPs' english speeches with Hindi voice-overs

The official broadcaster of Parliamentary proceedings, Sansad TV is under criticism for its decision to mute the original audio of MPs speaking in the English language and using Hindi voice-overs instead. The move is a grave injustice to crores of non-Hindi speaking Indians who are being denied the right to hear what their elected representatives are actually saying in Parliament.

NCP (Sharad Pawar) leader Supriya Sule, MP from Maharashtra’s Baramati Lok Sabha constituency has demanded that the Union government refrain from such unethical tactics.

Calling the practice “deeply problematic,” she said it suppresses the MPs’ voice, denies elected members the right to be heard in their chosen language, and is autocratic. Taking to X to post about it, she wrote:

“It has been observed that Sansad TV is now translating the Speech of MPs in English, into Hindi while muting the original audio. This new practice is deeply problematic, as it suppresses the MP’s voice, denies elected members the right to be heard in their chosen language, and is autocratic. We demand that the NDA Government refrain from such unethical tactics that undermine democratic & constitutional principles & gags the voice of the people of India.”

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Responding to the MP’s post, Siddharth, the Founding Editor of The Wire posted a small video for people to understand what was happening. Replying to her post on X, he said: “Here is an example of what @supriyasule mentioned. This is not just an attack on Indian federalism by foisting Hindi but also a form of censorship of parliamentarians.”

Journalist and author Saba Naqvi, also took offence to what she called “discriminatory towards MPs from non Hindi speaking states.”

“I want to make a serious point about @sansad_tv. When MPs made speeches in English, they had a voice over their voice translating in Hindi. They did not do the same with Hindi speaking MPs whose voices were not drowned by English voice-over. All MPs should complain and change this and demand subtitles in the future. This is discriminatory towards MPs from non Hindi speaking states,” Naqvi wrote on X.

Zero coverage for Opposition

Congress MP from Tiruvallur Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu, Sasikanth Senthil said that Sansad TV is very clearly not showing the Opposition. Speaking to South First, he said there is zero coverage for the Opposition and if they cover it will be one MP’s face or 2 MPs sitting silently.

“You have to show what is happening in the House, the sense of the House. I am also alleging that they might not even be translating the right stuff. If anybody could do a micro analysis, I am sure they must be taking a lot of sting out of what the MP is saying, that is also quite possible since nobody is keeping track,” he said.

Criticising the television channel further, he asked, “The very reason we are speaking in the English language is because people in our constituency do not understand Hindi. So why put a voice over to our speech?”

Speaking on similar lines, NK Premachandran, member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party and MP from Kollam Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala told South First that the Sansad TV is indirectly imposing Hindi because as of today there are vey less English programs and almost all the programs are in Hindi.

“It is really an insult to the people of South India because Sansad TV belongs to the whole Parliament which has members belonging to the South also. This is absolute discrimination to non-Hindi speaking people. We will take this matter up with the Speaker and what Sansad TV is doing is not acceptable,” he added.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister of Karnataka and Belgaum MP Jagadish Shettar said he has no knowledge of what happened with Sansad TV but if something is wrong, it should be corrected.

(Edited by Neena) 

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