The Press Club of India (PCI) said it is deeply concerned and distressed that such an action on an international broadcasting network will damage the reputation and image of India as the largest democracy in the world.
Sana Ejaz | TwoCircles.net
NEW DELHI — The Press Club of India (PCI) has strongly condemned the income tax “surveys” at the office of the BBC in Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday.
“The ‘surveys’ are part of a series of attacks on the media by government agencies in recent times, especially against those sections of the media that the government perceives is hostile to it and critical of the ruling establishment,” PCI said in a statement.
“It is deeply unfortunate as this latest instance appears to be a clear-cut case of vendetta, coming within weeks of a documentary aired by the BBC on the Gujarat riots,” it said.
Income Tax officials on Tuesday searched the BBC’s Delhi and Mumbai offices and seized phones and laptops weeks after a huge controversy erupted over the BBC’s documentary series on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Modi documentary fallout: Income Tax department searches BBC offices in Delhi, Mumbai
The PCI said that the documentary, which appears to be the immediate provocation for the raids, has already been banned on YouTube and other social media platforms.
“We are deeply concerned and distressed that such an action on an international broadcasting network will damage the reputation and image of India as the largest democracy in the world. We appeal to the government to restrain its agencies from misusing their powers in order to intimidate the media and put curbs on the freedom of the press,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, the opposition accused the government of targeting the BBC for airing a documentary critical of PM Modi over the riots that swept Gujarat in 2002, when he was Chief Minister.
In response, the BJP on Tuesday accused the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of unleashing “venomous” reporting against India and alleged that its propaganda and the Congress’ agenda go together. (With IANS inputs)
Sana Ejaz is an independent journalist from Bihar. She tweets @SanaEjaz