Union Minister Anurag Thakur Raises Question on BBC’s Journalistic Independence
“Interesting to see how the BBC, which makes lofty claims about journalistic objectivity and independence, suspends its star presenter over his social media activities”, he tweeted.
NEW DELHI: Anurag Thakur, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, questioned the BBC's journalistic independence on Saturday after the media organization fired its star anchor and former footballer for comments he made on social media and reportedly pulled a documentary off air.
When sharing two news stories about the BBC suspending former England captain and prominent sports anchor Gary Lineker, after he criticised the UK government's immigration policy and pulling a David Attenborough documentary off the air "over fear of right-wing backlash," Thakur took a shot at the public broadcaster based in the UK.
The Union minister commented on Twitter, "Interesting to see how the BBC, which makes lofty claims about journalistic objectivity and independence, suspends its star presenter over his social media activities."
He remarked, "In yet another intriguing display, the BBC suspends the airing of a documentary it shot out of concern that it will enrage a sector of society."
"It is therefore impossible to expect those who engage in destructive propaganda based on made-up facts to possess the moral character or guts to defend journalistic independence," said Thakur.
The BBC documentary "The Modi Question" about the violence in Gujarat in 2002 was outlawed by the government in January and was characterized as propaganda.
The BBC has supported the film, praising its "rigorous investigation conducted in accordance with the highest editorial standards."
In order to look into a claim of "deliberate non-compliance with Indian regulations, including transfer pricing rules and illegal diversion of profits," the income tax department conducted a survey at the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai last month.
The BBC was the target of a vicious onslaught from the BJP, which dubbed it the "most corrupt" organization and charged it with spreading "venomous" anti-Indian propaganda. The BBC refuted claims made on Saturday that it avoided airing a Sir David Attenborough–narrated episode of a new wildlife series out of concern about a right-wing response.
The five-part series "Wild Isles" has always been about the environment and does not shy away from it, the BBC said in a statement. The broadcaster is also embroiled in a scandal involving football icon Gary Lineker.
After Lineker was suspended for a contentious tweet on the government's immigration policy, a number of the BBC's regular sportscasters returned in support of him.
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