BBC stands by reporting despite Prasar Bharti snub
The British Broadcasting Service (BBC) has stood by its reporting on the recent Delhi communal violence despite being snubbed by the chief of Prasar Bharti reports The Print alleging bias on the part of the UK-based global media service.
Prasar Bharati chief executive officer Sashi Shekhar Vempati snubbed the BBC for its coverage of the riots in New Delhi. The CEO specifically referred to a ground report by BBC report Yogita Limaye. The CEO objected that the report did not show the mob attacks on the policeman while it showed the police in poor light and that supposedly context was missing from the videos showing the policemens alleged participation.
BBC is the public service news outlet in the UK running TV and radio stations and its web portal. Prasar Bharati is a public news outelt in India which runs the bouquet of TV stations called Door Darshan and All India Radio, the sole news broadcasting radio station in India.
The said video used user-generated content videos to show how policemen in Delhi had allegedly participated in the violence against Muslims. There are several such videos reported by a section of the Indian media as well where the policemen seem to be aligned with the Hindu mobs that went on a rampage in North East Delhi.
Citing his belief that the BBCs reporting was biased, Vempati declined an invitation to an event to honour Indian sportwomen on Womens Day.
The BBC responded by saying that it stood by its reporting. In an interview to Indian media outlet The Print, BBC World Service Group Director, Jamie Angus said that the BBC catered to those looking for independent news and there was no official ban on BBC for its coverage.
“BBC does not enter into the emotional psycho drama element. People come to us for another reason — because we are dispassionate, independent and don’t have a stake or agenda on issues like these,” he added.
“BBC is a large and robust…organisation to withstand pressure. And I think that is sometimes missing in national markets. National news organisation can often be put under intense pressure — whether it is regulatory, commercial or political pressure — to drop stories,” Angus added.
The Prasar Bharati model though meant to mirror that of BBC has been under tremendous criticism in the recent past. Considered a white elephant, it has been described as a parking lot for government servants which some have ascribed to the reason for its inability to keep up with the rest of the media and also a reason why its autonomy is suspect. Recently it was also pointed out that DD has been directly towing the government line on social media.