ARTICLE 19 condemns the raids on and ongoing searches of BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai, which are being carried out by by India’s income tax department and began on Tuesday, 14 February, following the broadcast of a documentary that criticised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role in the Gujarat riots in 2002. We call on the government of India to stop harassment of and attacks against the press and journalists, including through such operations.
‘It is difficult for any fundamentalist or authoritarian government to accept truth published or revealed by the media for the public interest,’ said Faruq Faisel, South Asia Regional Director of ARTICLE 19. ‘They start harassing the media and journalists when they can’t cover up the truth despite their efforts. We feel that India’s image in the outside world has been tarnished by these harassing searches of the BBC offices by the Indian government. India’s neighbouring autocratic countries should learn from this incident that repression cannot cover up the truth. If they take this lesson learned, it is good for the country, the government, democracy, citizens, and everyone.’
In January 2023, BBC broadcast ‘India: The Modi Question’, a two-part documentary on the Gujarat riots in 2002. The main focus of the controversial documentary is the involvement of the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi in the Gujarat riots, and how the riots helped him eventually become prime minister.
For more information, please contact:
Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 South Asia
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