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Prasar Bharati CEO declines BBC invite, says its Delhi riots coverage was ‘one-sided’  

In a letter, CEO Shashi Vempati says he won’t attend BBC awards night as broadcaster’s coverage of Delhi riots ‘insinuated communal behaviour’.

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New Delhi: The Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati has declined the BBC’s invitation to an event on the grounds that the broadcaster’s coverage of the recent Delhi riots was “one-sided”, “without context” and insinuated “communal behaviour”.

In a letter to BBC Director General Tony Hall dated 4 March, Vempati has written that he must “respectfully” decline the broadcaster’s invite to him for the ‘BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year’ awards night over its Delhi riots reportage.

Vempati, however, did not mention the word ‘riots’ anywhere in the letter, but instead referred to it as “incidents of violence”.

The move is unprecedented since this is the first time the head of the Indian public service broadcaster has written to his British counterpart complaining about alleged biased coverage. 

Prasar Bharti is the parent body of state-owned broadcasters Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR).  

Also read: Emotional emails & offers to crowdfund — how fans tried to keep BBC Hindi radio on air

Letter mentions BBC video

Vempati’s letter mentions a video news report by BBC journalist Yogita Limaye and others on the Delhi Police that aired on 3 March. 

It claims the video shows visuals of the Delhi Police that were “without context” and “insinuate communal behavior”.   

“Unfortunately nowhere in the entire report have the BBC journalists mentioned the murderous assault on the men in uniform by a mob that resulted in the death of a Head Constable while in the line of duty and also resulted in the fatal injuries received by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (sic),” the letter states. 

The letter further adds that the report is “also damningly silent” on the “brutal targeted murder of an Intelligence Bureau Official through multiple stab wounds numbering in the hundreds”. 

It stated his only fault was that he happened to be a resident of the violence hit area, the letter reads. “As a fellow public broadcaster of global repute, it is dismaying that the BBC has filed such a singularly one-sided version of the incidents of violence in Delhi,” it adds. 

It said instead of breaking the cycle of violence, the reportage has only contributed to further “vitiating the atmosphere while insinuating the brave men and women in uniform who are charged with the onerous responsibility of law and order.”

A vocal Prasar Bharti 

Vempati letter states that he strongly believes that as public broadcasters, BBC and Prasar Bharati must respect the “sovereignty of the nations” they serve, even as they collaborate beyond borders on multilateral fora for the “greater global good.” 

“I hope the BBC would review its editorial views on reports of this nature in line with this spirit,” Vempati’s letter reads, adding that he hopes that the BBC as a public broadcaster will continue to discharge its public service mandate as before.   

The letter reflects a change in the Prasar Bharati’s stance on the foreign publications’ reportage on India that has been evident over the last few months. 

With major foreign publications ranging from The New York Times and Washington Post to The Guardian (UK) and Le Monde (France) publishing highly critical reports of the Modi government, Prasar Bharat’s Twitter handle Prasar Bharati News Service (PBNS) has publicly slammed foreign publications on their coverage of incidents within India. 

This includes warning The Guardian against provoking communal hatred in India ahead of the Ayodhya verdict and calling Pakistan PM Imran Khan as the troll PM of terroristan. It has recently tweeted about multiple complaints against foreign publications and channels including Huffington Post and Al Jazeera, with the hashtag #NewsJihad.

Vempati had recently told ThePrint that it is a conscious strategy and that on the global front, India’s public broadcaster would speak up in national interest.  

Also read: Delhi riots international conspiracy, CIA & NIA should investigate: Minority panel member


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  1. The “…fellow public-broadcaster of global repute..” part is as one-sided as ludicrous in the whole, grieving communication!

    Like, seriously? Forget about the flashy DD News® presentation-style in the ongoing era and many of those “debate” shows akin to private news-channels, albeit not as heated and “circus”-like( because the MO is in the phraseology).

    But Mr ‘incumbent CEO’ moaning( striking-through is equal to the muting-application DD® so consistently relies on for its licensed, non-news programming which their “fellow” is not obligated to — especially after 21 hrs local time) about BBC®’s journalistic ethos seems to be living in the past.
    Comparing the empire built by BBC® with Prasar Bharati® is like: Comparing a rotten apple with glowing orange.
    And no, that’s not an insult. That’s the nicest way I could possibly summarise my take.

  2. It is sad the truth is hard to digest to believe that indeed bad things happened with the cops blessings…and outside mafia.

  3. Western media is just reporting according to funding . Media is no more fourth pillar of democracy. Economics has taken over democracy and nationalism. I don’t see even single media house not influenced. Time has come to curb media on providing opinion and just stick to reporting, opinion leave it to people. Tough laws to be brought in on media to have a true democracy.

  4. Other countries should respect our sovereignty,and should not publish any news one sided. Our prasar bharti CEO Shashi Sekhar Vempati did the right thing. Unanimously it’s praiseworthy. I’m proud of our CEO Vempati.

  5. Although, the author has detailed on the refusal of Prasaar Bharathi chief to BBC interview, the author did not preface the article or at the end what is his stand the matter. It is unbelievable the reputed publications do not report objectively what has happened actually on the days riots took place, without fear or favour. As a publisher, it is expected by the reader, to be accountable for their reportage with realities.

  6. BBC always trying to make propaganda against India not only now it’s long history .
    This type midia always projecting particularly one community not actual culprit who are involved in this unrest

  7. I support Prasad Bharati CEO and Modi government too, BBC is always anti Indian, supported and paid by Congress and leftist who want to destroy indian culture and values and these guys were behind these riots, cong and leftist don’t want Indias progress

  8. But he didn’t deny the oneside. And couldn’t place the other side too. Is bbc side is false? Riots never run oneside . Why he didn’t focus on his side?

  9. BBC first answer to arms sale to Saudi, which in turn it used to kill innocent Yemeni ,,,wht happened in Delhi is horrible of course, but bring the NAKED TRUTH from all over the world.

  10. BBC has always been an anti-Indian and pro-Pakistani institution. Any one can track it’s record since Independence. It could not accept the fact that India gained Independence. So BBC always works against India. As the facts and truths are unfolding day by day, anyone with little bit of wisdom can understand how the preparation for the violence was going on post shaheenbag.

  11. This sanghi is mum when indias godi media 24 hours propigate against muslims…..when your mind is corrupt with sanghi ideology one cant do much…

      • Sangh doesn’t hold the copyright of patriotism. You guys are always confused and paranoid. If you think that a community that reached 15% population mark in 1400 years will replace Hindus in the next 10 years, then I salute your logic. Shame should be on you for conspiring deadly attacks on those poor slum-dwellers. You can murder people but you can’t murder their minds and thoughts. Even though you consider rational thinking as a crime. You’re a blot and disgrace on our peaceful religion.

  12. The BBC continues the British perception of India as ‘ a beastly country….. with beastly gods’ a la Churchill. Having aided Jinnah and the Muslim League to manufacture a Pakistan which agreed to support them in furthering their interests in the Mifdlle Easr, mainly oil, the Brits are not yet comfortable with the notion that much water has flown down the Thames, the Empire is a fossil and Europe has a permanent smirk over its Brexit shenanigans. BBC’c views are always for England’s Muslims and frankly we do not care. I am delighted with the plain speaking by the Prasar Bharti boss.

    • When 54 people are killed in the capital city and no action is taken, it is a “beastly country”

      • Ha more Hindus died in the riots than Muslims. And action will be taken. Besides, the Muslim violence is not at all reported by the BBC it’s disgusting

    • BBC is baby broadcasting company showing immaturity in journalism, biased to tarnish image of India internationally. Shame to it’s journalists & broadcasters further spoiling it’s image by biased reporting, witnessed in recent Delhi incidents coverage.

  13. BBC is not a holy epic, that always says truth. It was a one sided story neglecting the entire coverage of incidence. Tahir Hussain to Shahrukh to heanous murder of an IB official were not covered, that triggered the violence. The reporter Yogita limaye & the broadcaster agency BBC forgot their journalistic approach.
    The coverage was one sided story without factual substance & simply aims at propaganda of international agenda against India & nothing else.
    BBC has lost its credibility.

  14. Very rightly said by Prasar Bharathi CEO, The externally funded roits voilance are exported by ecternal media lowering/ to lower India’ s image . India becoming stronger is not liked by nation currently holding the position now.

  15. Your not going to attend the function is anyway turn away the facts which happened, if you accuse BBC of biasness then why so many people of one community was killed and don’t you see video of men in uniform and rioters together attacking? Are those videos fake and news of those who killed boosted their act. Why was judge transferred over night ? Anyhow, your not going is giving another opportunity to others to understand the fact as every child knows you’re not an independent body.

    • Whoever objecting to the brilliant letter by Prasar Bharati must have been paid by BBC and these are the very people of Congress and Leftwing liberals who are responsible for these violence by openly instigating Muslims. All these foreign media offices must be sealed for anti Govt campaign

  16. The Western media has a vested interest to propagate biased reporting against India. It had been doing the same thing against all emerging countries including China. However, China never cared for these reports and kept progressing economically. The western world is extremely worried that with the economic progress of many other countries, the game of power is slowly moving away from their hand. Hence, they are pushing every possible narrative through their media houses to undermine the countries that are improving upon their poverty line. Unfortunately, taking advantage of our democratic system and constitution many Jaichands and Mirzafars are now playing at the hands of these westerners in lieu of monetary rewards that they receive from them.

  17. It is so unfortunate. The connivance of the foreign media is so blatantly against India. We have no communal problen in India but the stupid reporters are printing the reports in red. The IB officer was stabbed hundreds of times and dumped in a drainage. A police commissioner is still hospitalised due to the injuries and another police killed. No coverage. It is the police that was successful in containing the unrest. No appreciations. Interestingly one local media house of repute has even tried to attribute the individual to a different religion to create bias. The foriegn media has a lot of spicy stuff that they can report. India remains as enigmatic and varied as it has always been. The investigation is on but the public opinion is unfaltered on who has funded the carnage which was the biggest in over 50 years. The benegiciaries have failed and would continue to do so. This is the first time that the opinion on some of the well known media houses of the world is low owing to their ignorance and insensitive reporting. Hats off to Mr. Vempati and the Govt. of India for rejecting the invite. A great token of revolt simply put.

    • Brits are bad losers. BBC has strategically misrepresented facts. On Kashmir it has come up with provocative tweets which could not be verified nor were videos shared with Indian channels for verification in true Imperial style. Any UK government linked or i government interest UK company is critical and biased against India. In fact Western media has gone back to God, Gold and Glory while feigning liberalism and Globalism. Thus every non western country is currently uncivilized and basket case- Russia, India, China etc. But western wars are just , Snowden is crucified, illegal prisons flourish but this is fine. Just add 2 and 2 and you get imperial 22.

  18. It’s shame on India. Not only Prasar Bharti CEO, even the way SC judge responded to Riots against CAA all systematic attack on India and it’s Social fabric. Government lead by Modi is spoiling India’s image and the lively good by dictating, misusing every Govt organizations.

    • People like you are like termites making India hollow from inside. Modi hasn’t done anything. Muslims showed their reality by raising their voice against CAA just because we won’t give citizenship to Pakistani muslims and Bangladeshi muslims. First try to love your country. On the oneside our army is fighting for our country against Pakistan and you people want to give citizenship to those muslims.

  19. Shame on BBC. News should be for public without any personal touch. Both sides people dies in equal way rather two three Hindus were killed brutually , but we don’t blame it to Muslim. It becomes a situation when human become pishach and forget himself that he is human , it is just for few moments, minutes and hour when bad evil inside you get up and starat doing these inhuman things. News channel, media and TV are more responsible for these riots these days, they show things just to be in highlight and pick money from the blood of Human. Truely say .media has become blood sucker these days. They are bad in society and BBC is master of these bad evils.

  20. The once bipartisan BBC has over the years declined in quality in terms of it’s reporting. The violence in Delhi is one such case.
    I’m glad that Vempati has signalled India’s intent in expressing its displeasure and has written to his counterpart in the BBC and further declined to attend one of their inane functions.

  21. Good decision. Let the BBC know that BBC has become a JEHADI media. The world has come to know about it.

  22. This not happened first time. Meny time BBC published one sided news . The print the hindu also did the same thing.

  23. Modi jarrroorr vempati spoon dalle … Tuje promotion dega..well done bhadave.. Tu isliye nautanki kar raha drohi.. Aag me jal raha aur tuje ek tarafa mosha k promotion padi he ..kal tere…. Me danda ghusayenge mosha ranga billa


  25. God Bless You n your decision my have done us proud.THIS IS WHAT MEN IN POWER MUST DO.alhumdulillah.🛐🛐🛐

  26. Great Respect for Prasar Bharati. He stood up like a hero and talked truth. And it’s extremely pity to see this intellectual population of India falls into the trap of western media. These intellectuals are like the virus,it feed on this land and works for the others. I hope people understand how much money Christian Missionaries,UK and Saudi Arabia is spending on this Left leaning lobby of India works for against the interest of India, and to dismantle India.
    Thank god, Prasar Bharati understood it and boldly said it. You are hero,man. You deserve an applause.
    And the ones who claim that there is no Inherent Bias, I hope they open their eyes and see real nature of things.

  27. Rightly done by CEO,Prasar Bharti. BBÇ reporting has often been biased and it is not for the first time that they have done so,but umpteen times they have done it and they do it. The story behind the killing of Rattanlal of police department and the grevious head injuries to DCP in addition to the advance collection of stones,petrol bombs,acid bombs,arms by Tahir Hussain and using all this against Hindus and killing of IB officer stand testimony to advance planning of violence and killing against Hindus and Police,but BBC presents a different story which is totally biased.Hats off to CEO,PRASAR BHARTI who has rightly shown resentment against biased reporting.

  28. I agree with Rabindra Nath Roy, prasar Bharti is a government institution so definitely it has always sided the government policy or supported government version of statement. Facts will always remain facts no matter how loud other media says, people have not forgotten the facts of Gujarat 2002 till now and will never, No matter what government says, same will remain with Delhi 2020 indians will never forget the facts..
    When your inner conscious tells you that you are guilty then only you have no courage to face the facts and you refuse to answer or face the real question and we have seen how Mr. Modi walked away in an interview when asked about Gujarat 2002, same he and his HM Mr. Shah is doing in Delhi 2020 running away from answers.
    BBC reporting is ground reality and actual reporting of the unfortunate incident or riot that happened in Delhi 2020.

  29. Kion be sachai bardasht nai kar sakta, sala jhoot ko sach samajh ke , maan , logo ko manwa kar, galat ko sahi, sahi ko galta maan ke jine ki aadat pad gai hai.

  30. Prasar Bharfati is though autonomous organisation by the act of Parliament but it is a known fact that every one in India know of its reporting and broadcast that it is always used by the Govt. of the day as its tool and its reporting no one takes as serious or even a true picture of the events that it feeds to the people of India. BBC is a reputed world wide television net work that has the reputation of broadcasting truth. It is not surprising that Prasar Bharati has declined BBC’s invitation or else the CEO would lose his job. People take BBC seriously and in India as well when. Popularity of BBC or The Guardian news paper is rather gets enhanced by the decline of invitation by a India’s Govt. organisation.

    • आप का लेख पढ़ कर लगा कि आप जन्म एक भौगोलिक भूल है आप उनके दिए गए तर्क का उत्तर देते तो अच्छा होता लेकिन आप के लिए bbc एक कुरान है उसमें जो भी लिखा है वह सत्य है सत्य के अलावा कुछ नही

    • It’s so funny to see how your brains works when you think like this. You think BBC and Guardian should be held in Great respect compared to Government of India,Wow. It’s just crazy,man. I completely disagree and I really think you are the scum of the fantasy of West. Like many thousands who sold off their Motherland to outsiders just for their personal benefit,you are not so different,man. I truly pity your state of existence. God save you.

    • आप का लेख पढ़ कर लगा कि आप जन्म एक भौगोलिक भूल है आप उनके दिए गए तर्क का उत्तर देते तो अच्छा होता लेकिन आप के लिए bbc एक कुरान है उसमें जो भी लिखा है वह सत्य है सत्य के अलावा कुछ नही

    • They are half educated . Never applying their true wisdom . Running after a fool’s paradise, A slogan, a misdirected missile. As if the Great Revolution is going to be delivered at their homes.

    • Shame on Indian peoples who give importance to BBC which always biased than Prasar Bharti. The Indian Traitors are responsible who gave an importance to foreign media.

  31. For its part, the British government, representing a nation of shopkeepers, has said it would not pursue trade at the cost of human rights. A perfect diplomatic storm is building up. Getting into Ostrich Asana is not the best way to deal with it. One will say this a million times. The western media does not have an inherent bias against India. If anything, the converse. Great pity that the mandarins and especially the diplomats who ought to be speaking truth to power are outdoing the politicians.

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