Describing India banning the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a matter of press freedom, the US State Department said that it is high time to highlight the importance of democratic principles like freedom of expression and make it a point around the world as well as in India, reports ANI.
Ned Price, the US State Department spokesperson, in a regular briefing on Wednesday underlined that Washington supports free press around the world and that it is a matter of utmost importance to highlight democratic principles like freedom of expression.
Responding to a media query, Mr Price said, “We support the importance of a free press around the world. We continue to highlight the importance of democratic principles, such as freedom of expression, freedom of religion or belief, as human rights that contribute to the strengthening of our democracies. This is a point we make in our relationships around the world. It’s certainly a point we’ve made in India as well.”
Earlier, addressing a press briefing on Monday (local time), Mr Price stated that there are numerous elements that bolster the US’ global strategic partnership with India which include political, economic and exceptionally deep people-to-people ties.
“I’m not familiar with the documentary you’re referring to. I am very familiar with the shared values that enact the United States and India as two thriving, vibrant democracies. When we have concerns about actions that are taken in India, we’ve voiced those we’ve had an occasion to do that,” he said.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended Prime Minister Narendra Modi and distanced himself from the BBC documentary series, saying he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of his Indian counterpart.
“Of course, we do not tolerate persecution anywhere, but I am not sure that I agree at all with the characterisation that the hon. gentleman (Opposition Labour Party MP Imran Hussain) has put forward,” the British prime minister said.
A BBC spokesperson, a day after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak came out in defence of Prime Minister Modi, said in a statement, “The documentary was rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards.”