Editors Guild of India Deeply Concerned about Income Tax ‘Surveys’ at BBC India Offices

New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India expressed concern over the Income Tax (I-T) surveys at BBC India offices in Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday.

The guild said that the surveys by the I-T department are in continuation of a trend of using government agencies to intimidate and harass press organisations that are critical of government policies or the ruling establishment. “In September 2021, offices of NewsClick and Newslaundry were similarly “surveyed” by the I-T department.

In June 2021, there were surveys against Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar. In February 2021, the ED conducted raids at the office of NewsClick. In each case, the raids and surveys were against the backdrop of critical coverage of the government establishment by the news organisations,” it added.

The Editors Guild sensed some link between the controversial BBC documentary on PM Modi and the recent I-T survey in the offices of the media house. “This comes soon after the release of two documentaries by the BBC, on the 2002 violence in Gujarat and the current status of the minorities in India. The documentaries stirred political waters with the government criticising the BBC for wrong and prejudiced reportage on the Gujarat violence, and attempted to ban online access and viewing of the films in India,” it said.

The guild felt such trend undermines constitutional democracy. “Further, the Guild reiterates its earlier demand that governments ensure that such investigations are conducted within the prescribed rules and that they don’t degenerate into instruments of harassment to intimidate independent media,” the Editors Guild of India said in a statement.

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