Television

“If ban is lifted, secondary rights become available, BBC would like to air ‘India’s Daughter’ in India”: Jim Egan

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MUMBAI: The just concluded Cricket World Cup 2015, the infighting amongst Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) members and Deepika Padukone’s recently launched #Mychoice video has kept the Indian media busy for the past few days. And this, in a country, which has to deal with a number of bans, both of content and beef. But, what had once taken substantial screen space, is now dead.

However, when BBC Global News chief executive officer Jim Egan visited India, the very first question, which popped in people’s mind was that of his take on the ban of the documentary India’s Daughter, a co-production between BBC and documentary filmmaker Leslee Udwin.

India’s Daughter fits the category of the documentary strand we have on BBC Global News calledStoryville Global. So, as and when the secondary rights become available and if the ban is lifted in India, then we would like to broadcast it here, but that would not be for many months,” Egan tells Indiantelevision.com.

Internet has made banning of content difficult now. “Many people have already watched India’s Daughter on YouTube and so the one thing I believe in is that it’s harder to ban things now,” he said.

BBC, according to Egan, is happy to produce a documentary like India’s Daughter, which touches upon a very sensitive topic. “It was a programme, which was made in a very careful and sensitive way. But of course it touches on some of the most delicate issues, not just in India, but around the world, and that’s why I think it’s a programme, which audiences should be able to watch,” added Egan.

Egan hopes that in time people will have the opportunity to watch it. “Women’s rights and role in a society is one of the major issues across the world and I think, the programme has done a wonderful job in bringing that aspect out,” he opined.

The channel, which reaches to approximately 400 million homes, recording a viewership of 76 million per week globally, is looking at a better traction from the country, which currently stands at around 10 per cent.

BBC has been operating in India for more than 20 years. Talking about his relation with the regulator here, Egan said, “We have a very good relation with the regulatory authorities here, both at the level of the regulator and also at the Ministerial level. Being a global broadcaster, while it is quite a difficult process, being global broadcasters, since we have to comply with different regulatory regimes right across the world, but India is not the country, which is problematic to do business.”

The curb on freedom of speech is becoming a major concern across the globe. “Although the world is becoming more connected and globalised, it is also becoming a bit of less tolerant.”

On the future plans for India, Egan said that while they aren’t increasing the number of bureaus but they are investing in people on the digital multimedia side. “Delhi is BBC’s single biggest bureau, outside the UK, that signifies the importance we show to the country and the Indian news agenda. Our endeavour is to bring international news and events to Indian audiences while telling the story of India from political and social point of view to international audiences who are interested in knowing what’s going on here. India is an important market and so we are investing to continue to grow,” concluded Egan.

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