HC summons BBC on NGO’s defamation plea over documentary

Delhi High Court
| Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over its documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’, after an NGO’s plea claimed that it damages the nation’s reputation as well as defames Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the judiciary.

Justice Sachin Dutta also summoned BBC (India), the UK broadcaster’s local operations unit, and listed the matter for hearing on September 25.

The petition by Justice on Trial, represented by advocate Harish Salve, submitted that the content of the two-episode news documentary released in January “casts a slur on the reputation of the country and makes false and defamatory imputations and insinuations against the Prime Minister, the Indian judiciary and the Indian criminal justice system”. The Gujarat-based NGO added that the BBC’s conduct is actionable and sought damages of ₹10,000 crore.

The Centre had earlier issued directions to block multiple social media posts and videos sharing links to the documentary, which covers the 2002 Gujarat riots and protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act among other issues. The Ministry of External Affairs had termed it a “propaganda piece that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset”.

Earlier this month, a Delhi court had issued summons to the BBC, Wikipedia and Internet Archive over the documentary on a defamation suit filed by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Binay Kumar Singh.

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