New Delhi(WEB TEAM): Even as the Indian government was pressing BBC for not showing the controversial documentary on the December 16 gangrape, BBC has gone ahead and aired it in UK. The broadcaster refused to pay heed to India’s demand for a global ban saying the film had dealt with the issue ‘responsibly’.
Originally, BBC had decided to show it on March 8, coinciding with International Women’s Day, but they preponed the airing of the show presumably because of mounting pressure from the Indian government. Officially, they said that they wanted viewers to see this “incredibly powerful documentary at the earliest opportunity”.
On Wednesday night, BBC said the documentary- Storyville- India’s Daughter, will be telecast in the United Kingdom on BBC Four at 3.30 am IST. “This harrowing documentary, made with the full support and cooperation of the victim’s parents, provides a revealing insight into a horrific crime that sent shock waves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women,” it said. The statement said the film handles the issue “responsibly” and fully complied with BBC’s editorial guidelines.
“The film handles the issue responsibly and we are confident the programme fully complies with our editorial guidelines.
The BBC statement came on a day the Indian Parliament witnessed outrage over the interview of gangrape convict, prompting the Modi government to promise an indepth inquiry and disallowing its telecast. “Under no circumstances, this documentary will be allowed to be broadcast… Government has taken necessary action and secured an order restraining the telecast of the film,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament.
The documentary included an interview conducted by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin and BBC, of Mukesh Singh, the driver of the bus in which the 23-year-old paramedical student was brutally gangraped by six men on December 16, 2012. Mukesh has been convicted of rape and murder. In the interview he put all the blame on the girl, an atrocious statement which has created furore in the country. A controversy has also broken out about how the film makers got permission in the first place. While Rajnath Singh has indicated in the floor of the Parliament that it was the UPA government who gave permission, earstwhile home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has denied giving green signal.
A Delhi court has restrained media from publishing, broadcasting, telecasting or uploading the interview on the internet.
On her part, Udwin appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to view the documentary, which, she said, was a “gift to India”, before any action was taken on it. She said India has shown the lead globally in the wake of the horrific crime which had led to protests across the country. Rape was an issue of global concern which she has highlighted in the documentary, she said.
Parent of the raped and murdered paramedical student has also supported the filmmaker saying there is nothing wrong with the documentary.