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'BBC thrives on sensationalism, documentary on Modi nefarious'

"Glaring factual errors apart, the series that uses the words 'allegedly' and 'reportedly' repeatedly reeks of motivated distortion that is mind-numbingly unsubstantiated as it is nefarious," Retired bureaucrats and judges and armed forces veterans in an open letter.

BBC thrives on sensationalism, documentary on Modi nefarious former bureaucrats, judges
First Published Jan 21, 2023, 4:22 PM IST

Retired bureaucrats and judges, and armed forces veterans have lashed out at the BBC over its controversial documentary 'India: The Modi Question' that has been critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Signatories to the letter called the series based on delusional reporting and one that questions the very basis of the 75-year-old edifice of India's existence as an independent and democratic nation that functions according to the will of the people of India.

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There are a total of 302 signatories to the letter against BBC. These include 133 retired bureaucrats, 13 retired judges and 156 retired armed forces officers.

According to sources, the Centre has directed Twitter and YouTube to take down links to the BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots. Many tweets and YouTube videos of the documentary no longer appear on microblogging and video-sharing websites.

The directive from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry came a day after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the documentary series. Sunak said he did not agree with Modi's characterisation by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain in the UK's parliament.

'Glaring factual errors apart, the series that uses the words 'allegedly' and 'reportedly' repeatedly reeks of motivated distortion that is mind-numbingly unsubstantiated as it is nefarious. This is demonstrated most vividly by its completely sidelining the core fact: that the Apex judicial institution of India, the Supreme Court, has unambiguously ruled out any role of Modi in the Gujarat violence of 2002 while firmly rejecting allegations of complicity and inaction by the then Gujarat state government headed by chief minister Modi,' the open letter states.

'We now have a British media organisation, the BBC, which naturally thrives on sensationalism regardless of how false its basis, setting itself up to second-guess and dismiss the verdict of the apex of Indian judiciary, the Supreme Court. This alone exposes the BBC's malafides and leads one to question the motivations behind this series,' those behind the letter said further.

Further slamming the BBC, the letter noted that the channel underestimates the passionate patriotism towards the nation that connects all Indians across the globe.

'The documentary is not a neutral critique; it is not about exercising creative freedom. It is not even about a divergent, anti-establishment point of view. It is, in fact, a visibly motivated charge sheet against our leader, a fellow Indian and a patriot. Regardless of whom you, as an individual Indian, might have voted for, the Prime Minister of India is your Prime Minister. We cannot allow just about anyone to run amok with their deliberate lies, their vacuous reasoning hiding behind phrases like 'it was widely reported' or that 'there were pretty credible reports',' the letter signatories said.

India has officially rejected the documentary and called the documentary a 'propaganda piece' that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.

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