Anurag Thakur Contests BBC's Freedom as Journalist After Suspension of Documentary, Sports Anchor
Anurag Thakur, the minister of information and broadcasting, questioned the BBC's journalistic independence on Saturday after the media organisation suspended a former footballer and prominent anchor for comments he made on social media and allegedly pulled a documentary off the air.
By sharing two news stories about the BBC suspending former England captain and prominent sports anchor Gary Lineker after he criticized 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 freedom, suspends their star anchor over his social media activity.
He said, "In yet another intriguing display, BBC suspends airing of a documentary it filmed out of concern that it would enrage a section of society.
"False narrative context and moral news are incompatible. It is clearly impossible to expect those who engage in malicious propaganda based on made-up facts to possess the moral character or courage to defend journalistic independence "stated 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 programme has the support of the BBC labelling it 'rigorously researched according to highest editorial standards'.
In order to look into a claim of "deliberate non-compliance with Indian laws including transfer pricing rules and diversion of profits illegally," the income tax department performed a survey at the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai last month.
The BBC was the target of a vicious assault from the BJP, which dubbed it the "most corrupt" organisation 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 installment of a new wildlife series out of concern for a right-wing backlash.
There is no "sixth show," so this statement is completely false. The five-part series "Wild Islands" has always been, and it does not environmental value," according to a BBC statement.
The network is also embroiled in a scandal involving football icon Gary Lineker.
After Lineker was suspended for a contentious post about the government's immigration policy, a number of the BBC's regular sportscasters returned in support of him.