British PM Cameron's aide takes on BBC over critical comments against Modi

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 20, 2014 23:12 IST

A major row has erupted between the BBC and Conservative MP Priti Patel, who is the ‘Prime Minister’s UK Indian Diaspora Champion’ over the May 16 coverage of India’s general election results, when critical comments were made against Narendra Modi.

Asking the Indian community to continue registering complaints with BBC director Tony Hall, Patel on Friday said BBC’s response to her letter of complaint was disappointing, adding: “The BBC should be ashamed of not only its shoddy journalism, but the way it responds to criticism”.

Patel had lodged a complaint over remarks made during the May 16 edition of Newsnight, which had a short clip on Modi’s rise and a discussion between Indian-origin sculptor Anish Kapoor, writer William Dalrymple and senior journalist Swapan Dasgupta.

As BBC responded that the programme offered “a balanced understanding of the issues”, Patel dismissed the response as “complacent” and “smug” and asked the culture secretary to take up the issue with BBC.

Patel said: “While the response is extremely disappointing, it is not surprising that the BBC has dismissed the concerns of many within the world’s Hindu community about its recent Newsnight coverage”.

She added: “The BBC should be ashamed of not only its shoddy journalism, but the way it responds to criticism. This response along with the programme’s coverage of the elections adds to the insulting way in which India and the largest democratic elections in the world have been portrayed”.

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