‘Editorial freedom vitally important’: UK MPs Defend BBC Following I-T Survey in India

Questioned in the House of Commons about the Income Tax department ‘surveys’ at BBC’s India offices after the release of a documentary on Narendra Modi, the UK government has defended its national broadcaster.

Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), answered questions on the issue from members of the opposition as well as his own party for about 20 minutes.

“We stand up for the BBC, we fund the BBC, we think the BBC World Service is vitally important,” Rutley said. Adding that it was important for the national broadcaster to have editorial freedom, and in the UK the BBC was known for being critical of both prominent parties.

MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi said during a question-hour session that the UK is very proud of its press freedom and is accustomed to the BBC and other reputable media outlets holding the UK government, prime minister, and opposition parties accountable in a devastating manner. 

The debate was kicked off by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP) Jim Shannon who termed the surveys as a “deliberate act of intimidation following the release of an unflattering documentary about the country’s leader”

The survey was carried on for 59 hours in the BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai. Laptops and mobile phones of employees were also scanned in the survey that lasted three days. 

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