Letter from Danny Cohen to Sh. Rakesh Singh regarding concerns about Storyville - India’s Daughter

Date: 05.03.2015     Last updated: 14.12.2016 at 11.47
The following letter was sent by the BBC Director of Television, Danny Cohen, to Sh. Rakesh Singh, Joint Secretary of the Government of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in response to a letter raising concerns about the BBC’s broadcast of the Storyville documentary India’s Daughter. Mr Cohen’s response was sent on Wednesday, 4 March, before the broadcast of the documentary on BBC Four in the UK.

Dear Sh. Rakesh Singh,

Thank you for your letter of today. We appreciate your concern but we feel India’s Daughter has a strong public interest in raising awareness of a global problem and the BBC is satisfied with the editorial standards of the film. We have also received assurances from the production company that they gained access through the proper channels in order to conduct what was an extensive and considered interview.

The remarks of the perpetrator are set among a number of other views, including those of the parents, ex- or present members of the judiciary, witnesses and personal testimonies. The purpose of including the interview with the perpetrator was to gain an insight into the mind-set of a rapist with a view to understanding the wider problem of rape and not just in India.

We do not feel the film as currently edited could ever be construed as derogatory to women or an affront to their dignity. Indeed, it highlights the challenges women in India face today.

It should be noted, although the BBC is happy to take your views into consideration, we are not planning to transmit the film in any territory which lies under Indian legal jurisdiction.

We think the film is an important account of an event that galvanized Indian opinion to ensure such tragedies are not repeated. Accordingly, after lengthy and careful consideration we have decided to show India’s Daughter on BBC Four in the UK at 22:00 tonight.

Yours sincerely,

Danny Cohen

Director, BBC Television