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Gangrape documentary on YouTube, govt serves legal notice on BBC

The govt told the BBC that it has 'violated' the agreement of not using the documentary for commercial purpose.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 6, 2015 2:20:48 pm
december 16 gangrape, nirbhaya gangrape BBC conveyed to the government on Thursday that it has no plans to telecast the documentary in India in compliance with the directive.

With the BBC ignoring the government’s advice not to broadcast a documentary on the December 16 gangrape, which features a controversial interview of convict Mukesh Singh, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said “whatever is required will be done”.

The government has served a legal notice to BBC for failing to secure approval for commercial use of the documentary, sources said.

Also Read: Government examining options whether to take legal action against BBC 

Home Ministry sources said the notice was served on BBC by Director General of Tihar Jail Alok Kumar Verma through government standing counsel on Wednesday evening. This was before the BBC aired the documentary in the UK at 10 pm (GMT).

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Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Thursday morning, Singh said, “We had informed all channels that the  documentary must not be released. But BBC has broadcast it in London. Whatever action we have to take, the Home Ministry will go ahead and do that.”

Also Read: Women’s rights activists divided over ban on film

He added, “We had requested the BBC not to telecast the documentary but BBC said that it’s an independent organisation and will go ahead with the telecast.”

BBC conveyed to the government on Thursday that it has no plans to telecast the documentary in India in compliance with the directive.

Asked how the government would proceed on the issue, Singh said, “I would not like to make any comment at this moment. All I can say is that whatever is required will be done. If conditions have been violated, if they have been violated, there will be appropriate action.”

Singh added that he had spoken to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and had written to the Ministry of External Affairs on the matter.

Also Read: Tihar Jail sends notice to BBC, Udwin for breach of conditions

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has, meanwhile, written to YouTube and social media platforms not to upload, transmit or broadcast the documentary as it is “very sensitive” in nature. The Department of Electronics and IT has written to YouTube, social media platforms and TV channels, mentioning a Delhi court order that prohibits airing or broadcasting of the interview.

Sources said that web pages on which the documentary has already been uploaded would be blocked individually.

When contacted by PTI, a YouTube spokesperson said, “While we believe that access to information is the foundation of a free society and that services like YouTube help people express themselves and share different views, we continue to remove content that is illegal or violates our community guidelines, once notified.”

The video sharing site did not confirm whether it has received a notification from the government, which is required to remove the content from its site. Till Late Thursday, the documentary was still available on YouTube and has gone viral with multiple shares.

Home Ministry sources said the producers of the documentary, including British filmmaker Leslee Udwin, could face legal action for breaching conditions laid down while granting approval for conducting interviews inside Tihar Jail.

“While it appeared to be an innocuous and routine application to conduct interviews inside the jail, it is now evident that there was a clear motive behind it and that the government was deliberately misguided. It (the documentary) was always meant for commercial purposes. The producers and filmmaker could face action for breach of conditions,” a Home Ministry source said. — with PTI inputs

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