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India: Income Tax Raids on BBC offices an attack on freedom of press

Thursday 23 February 2023, by siawi3


India: Income Tax Raids on BBC offices an attack on freedom of press - select statements, editorials, reports

15 February 23

[updated on Feb 20, 2023]

Select Statements by Political parties and Campaign organisations

Statement by CPI(M)

Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Tuesday, February 14, 2023

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) condemns the searches conducted by the Income Tax department of the BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai. This is a blatant attempt to intimidate and harass the television channel for having telecast the documentary, ’The Modi Question’.

It is a standard tactic of the Modi government to intimidate the Indian media through raids conducted by the Income Tax department and other agencies. This has now been extended to a foreign media enterprise operating in India.

This coercive action will further reinforce internationally the image of the Modi government as an authoritarian regime which seeks to suppress media criticism.

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Statement by CPI

Communist Party of India

New Delhi,

February 14, 2023

Press Release

CPI Condemns I-T Raids on BBC Offices

The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India issued the following statement today (on February 14, 2023) condemning the raids on Mumbai and Delhi offices of BBC:

The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India condemns the raids conducted by the income tax department at the Delhi and Mumbai offices of BBC. The Modi government has already become notorious for attacking everyone who criticizes and exposes its communal-fascist policies.

It may be recalled here that BBC has recently telecast the documentary, ‘The Modi Question’. This has annoyed the Modi government which did not allow its telecast in universities and other places.

Now the Modi government has used the government machinery to intimidate a foreign telecast company. Such a step is likely to bring down the image of the country which has already suffered as far as the freedom of the media is concerned

Office Secretary

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Janhastakshep: a campaign against fascist designs
Contact: drvikasbajpai[at];

Press release Date: 14 February, 2023

Subject: ‘Raids by income tax department on BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai’

With the ongoing income tax raids on BBC offices in Delhi and Mumbai, for once Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved that he is not only a master of lies but also a man of his words. These raids come close on the heels of the recent two part BBC documentary on Gujarat riots which it seems are costing dear to BBC now. In the documentary the BBC reporter asks Mr Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat - ‘If there was anything in reference to the riots which he thinks he could have done better’? The blunt answer she received was – ‘Yes, I think I should have managed the media like yours better.’

Journalism in the country has died a rapid death since the RSS-BJP government came to power in 2014. Nevertheless, the income tax raids on BBC are an unashamed assertion by the Modi government that it shall brook no opposition to it from any quarter, even if it is as big and powerful a media house as the BBC. This comes soon after Mr Modi’s government bought over another media house NDTV after it failed to pacify it by other means.

Question needs be asked – how come all financial irregularities were discovered only after the broadcast of the Gujarat riots documentary. There is now a history to such tactics by this government for the people to be swayed by alibies of these raids being just a survey. It is time that such highhandedness be opposed by those whose responsibility it is to guard press freedom.

Janhastakshep condemns the raids on the BBC offices and calls upon the larger journalism fraternity, democratic rights and other civil society organizations to give a resolute and immediate reply to such dastardly attack on press freedom by the Modi government.

- sd -

(Dr. Vikas Bajpai), Convener / Prof JNU
(Anil Dubey) Co-convener / Senior journalist

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Select Statements from Media organisations in India:

Statement by Editor’s Guild of India

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Statement by Press Club of India

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Statement by DIGIPUB News India Foundation

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Select Editorials and Commentary:

Editorial, The Indian Express, Feb 15, 2023

Brazen intimidation: Editorial, The Hindu on the tax survey on the BBC (Feb 16, 2023)

Steep tax: Editorial on IT raid in BBC offices (The Telegraph, Feb 16, 2023)

Intimidation is the intent - Editorial in Deccan Herald (Feb 16, 2023)

BBC ‘Raid’ - PM Modi loses battle of perception internationally | Bharat Bhushan,

Video: BBC survey - How news anchors in India justified Income Tax raid on BBC [mostly in Hindi]

Live by PR, die by PR

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Select Reports and Commentary in the Western Press:

Le Monde

En Inde, la BBC dans la ligne de mire de Narendra Modi


How the Indian Government Uses Raids to Silence Critics


India’s BBC Raid Is Just Its Latest Attack on Press

The New York Times

India’s Proud Tradition of a Free Press Is at Risk

Indian Tax Agents Raid BBC Offices After Airing of Documentary Critical of Modi

The Guardian

The Guardian View on India’s tax raid on the BBC: Modi vs the Media | Editorial

The Economist

After silencing critics at home, Narendra Modi goes after foreign media

The Observer

India enjoyed a free and vibrant media. Narendra Modi’s brazen attacks are a catastrophe by Kenan Malik