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BBC documentary content cast slur, says Indian court summons

The Delhi High Court issued notice to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) based on a defamation suit moved by a Gujarat-based non-government organisation (NGO).

The suit claims that BBC has released a two-episode news documentary titled "India: The Modi Question". The two episodes are stated to have been published in January 2023.

It is contended that the said documentary/publication contains content which casts a slur on the reputation of the country and also makes false and defamatory imputations and insinuations against the Prime Minister of India, the Indian Judiciary and the Indian criminal justice system.

"It is averred that the aforesaid conduct of the respondents is actionable and has made them liable to damages, as claimed in the suit," noted the court after going through the suit.

The bench of Justice Sachin Dutta on May 22 issued notice to respondent BBC and said, "Issue notice to the respondents through all permissible modes, returnable on 25.09.2023"

Senior Advocate Harish Salve appeared for the plaintiff organisation and submitted that the documentary has defamed India and the judiciary also.
Recently Delhi's Rohini court had also issued summons to the BBC, the Wikimedia Foundation and Internet Archive on a plea seeking a direction restraining the defendants from publishing the BBC documentary based on PM Modi.

It is said that in the month of January 2023, BBC aired the two-volume documentary series "India: The Modi Question".

It is submitted that through the said documentary, BBC claims that there are rising tensions between India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the country's Muslim minority; there is an alarming rise of hate crimes and extreme politics in India, particularly targeting the Muslim community.


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