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HomeWorldBBC apologises, edits episode after caller abuses PM Modi on live podcast

BBC apologises, edits episode after caller abuses PM Modi on live podcast

Call was made during episode of ‘Big Debate’ podcast by BBC Asian Network. Debate centred on question ‘Do you feel proud seeing the turban being referred to as a crown in EastEnders?’ 

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New Delhi: A BBC host has apologised for an episode of a live radio podcast where a caller used abusive language while referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

The call was made during the 1 March episode of the ‘Big Debate’ podcast by BBC Asian Network. The debate on this episode centred on the question “Do you feel proud seeing the turban being referred to as a crown in EastEnders?” 

EastEnders is a popular British soap opera that has been on air since 1985. Much of the discussion on the podcast was around the racial discrimination faced by Sikhs and Indians in the UK.  

The live podcast — aired on BBC Sounds — was anchored by journalist Pria Rai. 

Following massive outrage on social media about the comments on Modi, the recorded version of the three-hour podcast was edited to remove them. The version now available online also features an apology from Rai.

“Before we carry on though, we just like to apologise again for some of the offensive language that was used by guests on the show earlier. It’s a live show and we discuss controversial issues often,” the host says. 

She adds: “But there was no reason for the type of language that was used and I’d like to say sorry again for any offence that was caused.” 

Also Read: The BBC is struggling to survive the era of fake news

British-Indian group seeks action

Following the podcast, a group called British Indians Voice highlighted the incident on Twitter, where it has over 8,000 followers. The group demanded that the country’s media regulator Office of Communications (Ofcom) take action against the British broadcaster. 

In December last year, Ofcom had imposed a £20,000 fine on Republic Bharat for alleged hate speech on a debate show hosted by Arnab Goswami.

Among Indian social media users, the episode spawned hashtags such as “BoycottBBC” and “BanBBC”, which were also used by some members of the BJP.

The BBC had come under criticism from Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati last year over its coverage of the Delhi riots. Vempati declined the BBC’s invitation to an event on the grounds that the broadcaster’s coverage of the riots was “one-sided”, “without context”, and insinuated “communal behaviour”.

The BBC subsequently said it stood by their reports.

Also Read: BBC to New York Times – Why Indian governments have always been wary of foreign press


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  1. Goody goody Hindu & Indian attitude won’t cut ice! These leftists including BBC must be brought to book !! Govt. should fine BBC at least £20,000 as the British did to republic world!! Hurt their pockets & their evil leftist/Jihadi ideolgy!!

    • hahaha… jokers must understand freedom of the media is a serious question in most countries. The person who tweeted this will be castigated by a few for using offensive language — not for his expression of anger or hatred on a person.

      • jagran manch: Ha!! Ha!! Free media is a myth!! Even western nations have half brained, biased, untruthful & superficial journalists!!! There is no real analysis or truth coming out of their nations, politics or the state of humanity/world!!

        They don’t even teach their children how they killed the natives in America, Canada or Australia.., looted India & exploited Africa/Asia & the rest of the world!! Even USA according to American media, comes low at 56 on the list of press freedoms!!

        These sold out idiot journalist & politicians don’t even talk of the truth of Islamic & communist fascism!! No one hears from them on how Islam killed hundreds of millions of Hindus in India and continue to do so in Kashmir, Pakistan/Bangladesh..!!

      • Ha!! Ha!! Your ignorance and/or lies have no effect on the truth & REALITY! Even Americans are fearing for their free speech!! Twitter blocking President Trump’s account is proof on how ill informed, liar and/or a real joker/stupid you are!!

  2. The print please edit your article. You should use racial discrimination against Sikhs and other Indians instead of Sikhs and Indians.

    • @ROUNAK DWARY: How can you ask the Print & other leftist/communists to be secular, nationalist or honest?? The British & other invaders used this divide strategy to break & rule Indians! The leftist/communists are the slaves of those invaders!! They, led by congress successfully broke India with Muslims & Islamic fundamentalists in 1947!! They even kept those Islamic extremists in India so that they can repeat their evil strategy to hurt left over Indians, especially Hindus!! They also divided Hindus into Brahmins, Dalits, Kshatrias.. & now they are dividing India with Sikhs!! These leftists need to be eliminated like the Americans did with communists during the cold war!!

      • india broke itself because of its ancient caste systems. The French, Portuguese, Moghuls and the British could come and because India was already divided by caste systems, the visitors could become rulers. When a lower caste person could not even fetch water from the same well or river and could not attend the temples, they readily must have embraced any invader who gave them equal status. The use commmunists, congress and islamic are just adjectives used to defect from the inherent division in India.

        • What you say is ONLY 5% of reality!! The history you talk about is FALSE & besides the invaders is also a congress/communist propaganda history!! They even talked of the Aryan invasion theory which has been debunked by all unbiased historians!!

          The falsification of history was not just used against Hindus but also Africans & others..!!

          Else, were Muslims having caste system that they voted for & created Islamic Pakistan and yet most stayed in India??!! Is Islam Hindu now??

        • @jagdeep jang: You don’t know Hinduism or it’s true history but are commenting like you know it all!! It’s a FACT that only “winners” write history & western historians wrote a lot of BS! Even today, go to Wikipedia and you will see the Christian bias & lies against Hindus, Han Chinese & other non white people! The fact is that slavery was abolished by Hindus eons before the Christians or the Muslims even started that evil!!

          The Hindu civilization gave zero, astrology & banking & so much more to humanity!! That kind of genius & splendid civilization just CAN’T practice slavery & still be successful!!

  3. People should be informed of actual name of the person SIMON, so British people can see what type of person is Simon whether is businessman, professional or sweeper. Identity of uncultured person should not be protected in civilized society.

  4. That was lie. BBC didn’t tender apology except that anchor of the show just saying casual sorry during the conduct of the show.

  5. Bad words do not help anyone. Nor the abuses should be tolerated. We totally condemn all such bad words and abuses. The perpetrators of such bad language on public media should be punished.

    • India should definitely act against biased & lying western & indeed leftist Indian media!! In fact, India should have several unbiased media houses for international & unbiased/brave India related news!! As for the BBC & western media, they have already exposed their unprofessional attitude, colonial & white supremacist ideology in India & Hindu related reporting!! They do the same against China sometimes but for India & BJP/Hindus, it’s far worse!! The western big tech/social media is also known for stiffing free speech, hatred against Hindus & blocking accounts!!

  6. Please report properly the abuse was not just hurled towards PM but also towards his mother who over 90 years of age. The writer must be from India so please don’t say you didn’t understand the abuse, there on Youtube SG is trying to show media as some sort of unbiased entity at least act like one if you are preaching to others.

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