The Sunday Review
Indian tax officials ended the days-long hunt of The BBC’s offices New Delhi and MumbaiThe British broadcaster, BBC Radio 4 announced this Thursday. Spending by officials three days raiding the spaces following the country’s ban on a BBC Critical documentary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in deadly riots more than 20 years ago.
“The Income Tax Authorities have left our offices in Delhi and Mumbai. We will continue to cooperate with the authorities and hope matters are resolved as soon as possible,” The BBC News Press Team stated in a Tweet Thursday that it had received some information. of Its staff was “faced lengthy questioning or been required to stay overnight – and their welfare is our priority.”
“The BBC is a trusted, independent media organisation and we will stand by our colleagues and journalists who will continue to report without fear or favour,” The BBC said.
BBC The search results were not disclosed to employees. Some staff were allowed to continue at work. offices On Tuesday night, BBC said. The problem is that offices Are now available for entry and Leave as necessary
These searches take almost a whole month after According to the Indian government, the document was banned in its entirety. “India: The Modi Question,” From being broadcast in the country and Use “emergency powers” To block clips of You can find the movie on Facebook. Twitter and YouTube agreed to comply with the order.
A documentary that revives controversy from the last chapter of the Indian leader’s political career, when he was the chief minister of The west state of Gujarat in 2002.
Modi was indicted of Not doing enough to help others of The most horrific violence is in India’s post-indpendence history, when riots broke out between the state’s majority Hindus and Muslim minorities
More than 1,000 victims, mostly Muslims were among those who died in this violence and According to official figures, at least 220 others went missing.
Modi denied any allegations that he did not stop violence. An investigation special team was established by India’s Supreme Court in 2012 found no evidence to suggest he was to blame.
Modi was elected to the Presidency in 2002. and His ruling Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in IndiaRide on the wave of Hindu nationalism in India of 1.33 billion where almost 80% of The faith is a common belief.
The government’s move to block the documentary polarized opinion in the world’s largest democracy. Critics decried it As an assault press freedom, while Modi’s supporters rallied to his defense.
India’s main opposition Congress party described the ongoing tax searches at the BBC offices as a “brazen attack” on India’s free press.
“If someone tries to shed light on the prime minister’s past, or dig out details of his past…the present and future of that media house will be destroyed by his agencies. That is the reality,” the party’s media department head, Pawan Khera, told reporters Wednesday. “India is the mother of democracy but why is India’s prime minister the father of hypocrisy?”
The BJP attempted to justify the action by claiming no-one in the country was above the law.
Speaking at a news conference Tuesday, the party’s spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia said companies, including media agencies, must “follow and respect Indian law.”
“Anyone, any agency, whether tied to the media, a company, if they are working in India, they must follow and respect Indian law. If they follow the law, then why should they be scared or worried? Let the Income Department do its job,” He stated.
Fears rose from the raids of Censorship India, with several media organizations issuing statements condemning the government’s actions.
Now, ranked between Turkey and Sudan, India Eight places dropped to 150 of 180 nations in last year’s World Press Freedom Index published by the Paris-based group, Reporters Without Borders.
The Press Club of India said in a Tuesday statement Raids “will damage the reputation and image of India as the world’s largest democracy.”
“It is deeply unfortunate as this latest instance appears to be a clear cut case of vendetta, coming within weeks of a documentary aired by the BBC,” It urged the government to “restrain its agencies from misusing its powers in order to intimidate the media.”
Reporters Without Borders, (RSF), stated that searches had been conducted. “all the hallmarks of a reprisal” Please click here to download the press release of Modi added that the documentary took place during a specific time “when independent media are being hounded more and more, and when pluralism is shrinking in India due to increased media concentration.”
“It is essential that international media like the BBC can continue to operate in India without being harassed, and that the rights of journalists and, in particular, the confidentiality of their sources, are respected in this investigation,” The organization issued a statement Thursday.
It BBC That’s what it was. “fully cooperating” Contact the Indian tax authorities and That its output and journalism “continues as normal.”
Britain’s Foreign Office is closely monitoring reports of According to UK Government sources, the survey on taxation.
— Swati Gupta in New Delhi, and Martin Goillandeau and Allegra Goodwin in London Contributed reporting