US National Press Club slams India for banning BBC film on Modi
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington D.C. (January 31, 2023) — The world’s leading professional journalism organization, the National Press Club (NPC) based in Washington, DC, has issued an unequivocal condemnation of the Indian Government’s censorship of the BBC Documentary “India: The Modi Question.”
The NPC statement, released here on Tuesday, identifies the Indian government’s suppression of the Modi-critical documentary as part of a larger threat Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses to Indian democracy.
“India should be proud that it is the largest democracy in the world, but it cannot hold on to that identity if it continues to erode press freedom, persecute journalists, and suppress news that holds a mirror up to its shortcomings,” NPC president Eileen O’Reilly said.
“Since Modi came to power, we have watched with frustration and disappointment as his government — time and time again — has suppressed the right of its citizens to a free and independent news media.”
The NPC “strongly urge(s)” India to rescind the ban and allow Indians to “decide for themselves whether they agree or disagree with its findings,” she said.
“The BBC is one of the most respected news sources in the world and is known for its high editorial standards,” O’Reilly said. “We also demand in the strongest terms the government stop its persecution of journalists and suppression of press freedom in India.”
In the past two weeks, the Indian government has done everything in its power to prevent domestic and international audiences from grappling with overwhelming evidence of Modi’s complicity in the anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002. During that time he allegedly instructed police to stand down and “allow Hindus to vent their anger” as they slaughtered an estimated 2,000 predominantly Muslim Indians over the course of three days.
The NPC’s stand against the Modi regime’s brutal censorship campaign joins a chorus of condemnations from global press and democratic freedom organizations, signaling growing international recognition of the grave threat Modi poses to Muslims, religious minorities, a free press, and democracy itself.