Employees of the Indian tax service came with searches to the offices of the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC in two cities: New Delhi and Mumbai. “We are fully cooperating,” the corporation said in a statement. “We hope that the situation will be resolved as soon as possible.”
BBC staff member Jannat Jalil tweeted that the police were not allowing anyone to leave or enter the offices. The Financial Times, citing a division of the BBC World Service, writes that in the editorial office in New Delhi, some employees' phones were taken away. A representative of the tax service confirmed to the publication that the department had taken "some actions" against the British corporation, but stressed that this was a "survey" and not a search.
At the end of January, the Indian authorities attacked the BBC because of the documentary "India: The Modi Question" ("India: Modi's Question"), dedicated to the pogroms in the Indian state of Gujarat in 2002. The authorities did not like how the role of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in those events was shown, so they banned the tape and demanded that social networks block links to it.
According to the FT, India's press freedom rating has been declining in recent years as media and journalists critical of the government face lawsuits, pressure from the government and advertisers. In the Reporters Without Borders 2022 rankings, the country ranked 150th, down from 142nd in the previous year. The organization noted that in the past, the Indian press was progressive, but "things have changed radically" after Modi took over in 2014.