A spokesperson from India’s ministry of external affairs has criticised BBC’s recent documentary on Narendra Modi as a “propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative”.
Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi also said that “bias, lack of objectivity, and continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible”.
Do note that this has not been screened in India. We think that this is a propaganda piece, designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, lack of objectivity & continuing colonial mindset is blatantly visible, says MEA on the BBC documentary on PM @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/933tzVThqt— DD News (@DDNewslive) January 19, 2023
The two-part documentary, India: The Modi Question, aired its first episode on Tuesday. According to BBC, Modi has been “dogged by accusations over his attitude to the nation's Muslim minority” and the series looks at the “truth”.
The first episode a team from the UK government conducted an inquiry into the 2002 Gujarat riots and concluded that Modi, who was chief minister at the time, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity”. According to Scroll, the team said the extent of violence was “much greater than reported” and that its aim was to “purge Muslims from Hindu-dominated areas”.
In his briefing, Bagchi said he “cannot comment on the UK government report” cited in the documentary and asked how diplomats can “carry out investigations”.
MEA spokesperson: Can't comment on UK govt report cited in BBC Documentary. Asks how can diplomats carry out investigations, and repeats the Govt of India believes the BBC Documentary on PM Modi is the product of "colonial bias"— Suhasini Haidar (@suhasinih) January 19, 2023
The episode was removed from YouTube. It is unavailable in India. Prior to its release, it was by social media users. Adit Kothari, a founding member of the Indic Society, told Times of India, “Part of the purpose of the series seems to be to influence pockets of urban population in India in relation to the upcoming 2024 elections...Domestically, this should be viewed as a direct assault on the Tory party and on Rishi Sunak by the Left-liberal intelligentsia in the UK...”
In 2020, BBC had the Delhi riots and said it found evidence that the Delhi police “acted alongside Hindu riots” – reportage that was later described as “biased” by several groups. Jamie Angus, director of BBC World Services, told Newslaundry at the time that the BBC was not representing any agenda.
“We’ve reported fairly and accurately based on news gathering teams on the ground and what they have found,” he said. Watch the interview with Angus .
A weekly guide to the best of our stories from our editors and reporters. Note: Skip if you're a subscriber. All subscribers get a weekly, subscriber-only newsletter by default.