The BBC offices in India have been raided by the tax authorities. This was preceded by the airing of a BBC documentary highlighting Prime Minister Modi’s role in a riot a good two decades ago.
The offices of the British television channel BBC in New Delhi and Mumbai have been raided following the broadcast of a documentary film criticizing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The BBC also confirmed this and announced that it wanted to cooperate with the tax authorities.
Laptops and cell phones were also confiscated. The authority itself could not initially be reached for comment.
The government blocked links to the film
Last month, the BBC aired a two-part documentary called The Modi Question. The documentary suggests that in 2002, as Prime Minister of Gujarat State, Modi ordered the police to turn a blind eye to deadly clashes between Hindus and Muslims. At least 1,000 people died in the riots, mostly Muslims.
After the documentary was released, the Indian government blocked videos and tweets containing links to the film. Shortly after its publication, government adviser Kanchan Gupta called it “enemy propaganda” and “garbage”. Despite the ban, groups of students staged secret performances, prompting police to arrest two dozen students.
Attack on freedom of the press
Critics see these measures as an attack on freedom of the press. The general secretary of the opposition Congress Party, KC Venugopal, described the raid as undemocratic. The action shows the government is afraid of criticism, he tweeted. “We condemn this bullying tactic in the strongest possible terms.”
Press freedom in India has come under increasing pressure since Modi came to power in 2014. In Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 World Press Freedom Index, India fell ten places to 150th out of 180.
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