Business & Economy

Indian court summons BBC for ‘defamation’ over Modi documentary

New Delhi, May 22 (EFE).- An Indian court issued a subpoena to the BBC on Monday for allegedly defaming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a documentary that analyzes the role of the leader during the 2002 inter religious riots in the western part of the country in which more than a thousand people died.

“It is contended that the documentary makes defamatory imputation and castes slur on reputation of the country and the judiciary and against the Prime Minister. Issue notice to the respondents,” the court said, according to specialized media Live Law.

The subpoena follows a lawsuit filed by a nonprofit in the western state of Gujarat – to which Modi belongs -, where the riots took place in February 2002 when the leader was the chief minister of the region.

The documentary “India: The Modi Question” was broadcast by the BBC in January, which examined the role of the prime minister during the communal clashes that lasted several days and caused more than a thousand deaths after Muslims were blamed for burning a train in which 59 Hindu pilgrims were traveling.

Given that the content was critical of Modi, the Indian government censored its broadcast in India and arrested several university student leaders who organized joint screenings of the documentary in some universities.

However, these measures clashed with the ruling of the Supreme Court which ruled out banning the film.

The authorities later accused the BBC of tax irregularities after conducting a three-day raid of its offices in the country, just a month after the documentary was aired.

The BBC said some of its employees faced lengthy interrogations, and the British government defended freedom of expression and the independence of the outlet.

In March, the nonprofit Reporters Without Borders (RSF), in a report, denounced the progressive deterioration of press freedom in the south Asian country.

India dropped 161 out of 180 in the RSF’s latest press freedom index, 11 places worse than in 2022. EFE


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