• Sunday, March 26, 2023


After income-tax searches at BBC offices in India, broadcaster director general asks staff to report sans fear

BBC director general Tim Davie (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Days after Indian income-tax officials conducted searches at the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) offices in Delhi and Mumbai, its director general Tim Davie has said in an email to the staff in India that the organisation will not digress from reporting without fear and favour.

Davie thanked the staff members for showing courage and said nothing was more essential than unbiased reporting, the BBC reported. He also said the broadcaster does not have an agenda.

The BBC, which said it was cooperating with the investigation, found itself at odds with India’s Narendra Modi government after airing a documentary series on the role of the leader during the 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat of which he was the chief minister then.

The Indian government slammed the series as a “hostile propaganda” and tried to block it from being shown domestically.

Davie said the BBC would help the staff members do their jobs effectively and safely.

“Nothing is more important than our ability to report without fear or favour,” he said in the email.

“Our duty to our audiences around the world is to pursue the facts through independent and impartial journalism, and to produce and distribute the very best creative content. We won’t be put off from that task.

“I’d like to be clear: the BBC does not have an agenda – we are driven by purpose. And our first public purpose is to provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them.”

Tax officials spent three days doing what they called a “survey” at the BBC offices in India.

India’s Central Board of Direct Taxes said it had found “discrepancies and inconsistencies” and evidence indicating “that tax has not been paid on certain remittances which have not been disclosed as income in India by the foreign entities of the group”.

While the opposition in India criticised the government over the move, parliamentarians in the UK called the raids “intimidation” earlier this week.

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