Sunday, May 19, 2024

BBC hives off newsroom in India amid tax searches; shifts publishing licence to employee-owned firm

Following tax searches and FDI questions, the BBC has separated its newsroom in India, handing over its publishing license to a private limited company founded by Indian employees.

Less than a year after facing scrutiny from income tax authorities for alleged violations, this move takes effect next week.

The new entity, called “Collective Newsroom,” is established by four ex-BBC employees.

Its India offices will oversee the production of Indian content in seven languages for BBC’s digital services, including Hindi, Gujarati, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu.

The BBC has submitted an application to the Indian government for a 26% ownership stake in this private limited company, according to reports.

Rupa Jha, Chief Executive Officer of the Collective Newsroom and a former senior news editor at BBC India, expressed that it’s unprecedented for the BBC to authorise another entity for publishing, emphasising their commitment to maintaining journalistic integrity with full support from the BBC, as per Indian Express.

The press freedom activists and Opposition leaders have been alleging that the Hindu nationalist government in India is witch-hunting British broadcaster for its documentary film that questioned Narendra Modi’s leadership during the 2002 Gujarat Muslim genocide in which at least 2,000 people were killed, most of them Muslims.

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