Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday questioned the BBC’s journalistic independence after the media house suspended a former footballer and star presenter for his social media comments and reportedly withdrew a documentary of the waves.
Mr Thakur swept across the UK-based public broadcaster while sharing two BBC reports suspending former England captain and star sports presenter Gary Lineker after he criticized the UK government’s immigration policy and aired a documentary by David Attenborough “for fear of right-wing reaction”.
“It’s interesting to see how the BBC, which makes high claims on journalistic objectivity and independence, hangs its star anchor on its social media activity,” the Union Minister said on Twitter.
“In another interesting exhibit, the BBC is suspending the broadcast of a documentary it has made for fear it will anger part of society,” he said.
“False narrative and ethical journalism are inherently contradictory. Of course, those who engage in malicious propaganda fabricated into fabricated facts can never be expected to have the moral fiber or the courage to defend the independence of journalists,” Mr. Thakur said.
The government in January banned the BBC documentary “The Modi Question” about the 2002 Gujarat riots and branded it a propaganda piece.
The BBC backed the documentary, calling it “rigorously researched to the highest editorial standards”.
Last month, the Income Tax Department raided the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai to investigate a charge of “willful disregard of Indian laws, including the price rules of illegal transfer and misappropriation of profits”.
The BJP had launched a scathing attack on the BBC, calling it “the most corrupt” and accusing it of unleashing “venomous” propaganda against India.
On Saturday, the BBC denied reports that it had decided not to air an episode narrated by famed conservationist Sir David Attenborough for a new wildlife series for fear of right-wing backlash.
“This is totally inaccurate, there is no ‘sixth episode’. ‘Wild Isles’ is – and always has been – a five-part series and does not shy away from environmental content,” a statement from the BBC.
The broadcaster is also reeling from a controversy over soccer legend Gary Lineker.
Several of the BBC’s regular sports presenters have backed down in solidarity with Lineker after he was suspended for a controversial tweet linked to government immigration policy.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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