To blacken India on rape, BBC has omitted the facts – Christopher Booker

Indian students participate in a silent march urging the Indian government to lift the ban on the documentary film 'India's Daughter', in Bangalore on March 13, 2015. The students appealed to the government that banning the documentary by film maker Leslee Udwin was not justified as it throws light on the mindset of a sector of people which blame women for everything including rape.  AFP PHOTO / Manjunath KIRANManjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images

Christopher Booker“Those who saw the preview of India’s Daughter in Delhi have testified that the original version did make comparisons with the rest of the world. One, Anna Vetticad, praised it as a “balanced documentary,” because it ended with “worldwide statistics highlighting violence against women from Australia to the US.” But when the final version emerged, all this had been cut out. India was shown standing alone, as a country where rape is an exceptional problem.” – Christopher Booker

Leslee UdwinA huge row has erupted in India over India’s Daughter, a film made by the BBC on the gang-rape and murder of a young medical student on a Delhi bus in November 2012. What aroused particular anger was how the film, designed to be shown in seven countries to mark International Women’s Day, seemed to want to portray India as the rape capital of the world, with its headline claim that the country has “a rape every 22 minutes”.

But what has also come to light is that when the film was privately previewed in Delhi, its original version included evidence that in many countries in the West the incidence of rape is actually much greater. In Britain, the official Crime Survey for England and Wales 2014 estimated that there are 85,000 rapes every year, or one every six minutes. Equivalent US figures suggest that 1 per cent of all women are sexually assaulted each year, one every 25 seconds.

Anna VetticadThose who saw the preview of India’s Daughter in Delhi have testified that the original version did make comparisons with the rest of the world. One, Anna Vetticad, praised it as a “balanced documentary”, because it ended with “worldwide statistics highlighting violence against women from Australia to the US”. But when the final version emerged, all this had been cut out. India was shown standing alone, as a country where rape is an exceptional problem.

What also led the Indian courts to ban showing the film was its portrayal of a country where violence towards women is part of its national culture. Particularly controversial was its prison cell interview with the bus driver, waiting on death row for the outcome of his appeal to India’s Supreme Court. He showed no remorse for the woman he had helped to rape and murder. He suggested that she had brought this on herself by travelling on a bus late at night. But again this picture of India as having a peculiar cultural problem over its acceptance of gang-rape is belied by the statistics. According to UK and US figures, 14 per cent of rapes are by strangers. In India the figure is less than 1 per cent.

Umar RazaqBack in 2012, when that Delhi crime first attracted worldwide coverage, I looked into many horrific stories of gang-rape reported in Britain. According to the Metropolitan Police, more than 15 per cent of rapes reported in London each year involve three or more attackers. In one Essex case, the rapists of a 16-year-old girl poured acid over her in an attempt to destroy the evidence of their crime. We scarcely need reminding of recent revelations about what was going on in Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and elsewhere.

If there is a cultural problem here, it is the long-standing desire of the Western media to stereotype Indian males as somehow, to a special degree, sexual predators. Back in 1984, Western screens showed the TV series Jewel in the Crown and the film A Passage to India, both featuring rapes by Indian men of white women (although one was imaginary). More recently no films about India have been more popular in the West than Slumdog Millionaire and Monsoon Wedding, again featuring rapes, although this time by Indian men of Indian women.

BBCAs for the BBC’s latest effort at reinforcing this stereotype, there is already evidence that it has done damage to the image of India in the West, such as the much-publicised case of the Leipzig professor who barred an Indian student from an internship on the grounds that “we hear a lot about the rape problem in India, which I cannot support”. Female professors in Germany are reported as refusing to teach Indian male students for similar reasons. But the question the BBC has to answer is why did it so deliberately omit the evidence from the final version of that film, which might have given its worldwide audience such a different picture? It seems that, across the board, it now takes its right to distort evidence so much for granted that it no longer has the ability to recognise what damage this is doing. – The Telegraph, 14 Mar 2015

» Christopher Booker is an author and journalist who for many years has been a columnist with the London Sunday Telegraph. He was the founding editor of the satirical magazine Private Eye.

5 Responses

  1. traitors are sitting in india.those who gave permissin to make the documentary.These peopleshould be severly punished first. also indian agencies should from now onwards start reporting all rapes in the west in such a way to blacken their faces in a tit for tat. I have long ago stopped paying to watch bbc or cnn channels. the west can do us no harm if our own people donot colloborate.

  2. Indians are in slavery mindset still. Why a British journalist was permitted to do this, as though she has no such incident in UK? How she was permitted to visit an undertrial? Will UK allow any Indian Journalist to interview an undertrial? Before she leaves India, whether anyone viewed the documentary? And raised any objections? Without our permission, can they release anything, everything? If it is so, we are to be blamed, UPA sold natural resources for pittance under scams, and also sold Indian prestige, may be some scam in this permission also.

  3. An interesting fact mentioned in this report is the omission of the last part of the documentary, where it was clear that the situation in India is similar to other parts of the world. While this was shown in a preview in India, no one in India has referred to the omission. One has to wonder at the silence of those who saw the preview.

  4. The BBC now stands fully exposed! What part did Leslee Udwin play in the editing of the BBC copy? And have all the other copies of the documentary, sent to other countries, been doctored too?

    The Indian government must take issue with the BBC for deliberately hiding the facts to blacken India’s image abroad.

    The BBC is government financed and is not editorially independent as it pretends to be. So protests to the British government can also be made.

    And where were our mainstream media? Why have they not revealed the truth about the editing of the film? The Deccan Chronicle has a tie-up with The Telegraph, but so far it has not had the probity to reproduce Christopher Booker’s column.

    • Probity, intellectual honesty or integrity are all missing when reports of crime against women or minorities in India is reported. After all, what are the Indians (read Hindus) going to do? Write a letter to the editor. No one is going to protest the way the Muslims did in response to the Danish cartoons.

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