British PM refuses to apologise for BBC show
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Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 11:11
  
Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: In what may trigger a diplomatic row between India and the United Kingdom, British Prime Minister David Cameron has refused to apologise for an offensive BBC show, which portrays India in a poor light.

Reports, Friday, quoted British Prime Minister saying, “It's a matter for the BBC to handle.”

The Downing Street has also refused to censure host Jeremy Clarkson saying, "The Government is not responsible for editorial decisions made by the BBC or any media organisation. This is a matter for the BBC - I don't speak for the BBC."

The government had demanded an apology from the BBC over its presenter Jeremy Clarkson mocking Indian culture during a Christmas special programme while driving around the county, calling it a "breach" of agreement.

Clarkson, one of the highest paid BBC presenters known for his controversial comments, presented the Top Gear programme, which since its broadcast prompted several complaints and allegations of racism.

In its January 6 letter to the programme's producer, Chris Hale, and copied to Mark Thompson, director-general of BBC, the high commission said the BBC was "clearly in breach of the agreement that you had entered into, completely negating our constructive and proactive facilitation".

The letter added, "The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity. This is not clearly what we expect of the BBC. I write this to convey our deep disappointment over the documentary for its content and the tone of the presentation".

In the programme, Clarkson allegedly made controversial comments about India's trains, toilets, clothing, food and history.

The BBC has confirmed receiving 23 complaints about the programme, and added that it would directly respond to the Indian high commission's letter.

Senior Labour MP Keith Vaz, who called for a BBC apology when the programme was broadcast over Christmas, told The Telegraph last night: "It seems that the reasons given by the BBC in order to obtain their visas to go to India did not disclose the true nature of the content of this programme."

The Indian High Commission also lodged a formal complaint branding Clarkson's comments as tasteless and lacking cultural sensitivity.


First Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, 10:53


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