After criticism from Twitterati in Pakistani, the BBC has clarified that the omission of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav’s mention from its interview with Finance Minister Asad Umar was “not an act of censorship”, adding that it was edited out because the programme was too long to be aired on TV.
In an interview with BBC’s Stephen Sackur for his programme Hardtalk, the minister answered questions regarding various issues of national importance. The TV version of the interview, however, did not contain his mention of Jadhav, who was sentenced to death in 2017 by a Pakistani military tribunal for his involvement in espionage.
“The reason Kulbhushan Jadhav’s name was deleted from the TV version of the HARDtalk interview with Asad Umar has a simple technical explanation,” said a tweet from the programme’s Twitter handle. “The recorded interview was too long for our broadcast slot and so had to be edited.”
His name was omitted from the TV version. This was not an act of censorship, but clearly confusion has been caused, so we are happy to restore that short section to the TV broadcast and we’ll give the new programme an extra airing tonight as well as tomorrow morning. 2/2 https://t.co/STjcCKsWGt
— BBC HARDtalk (@BBCHARDtalk) December 13, 2018
The channel said Jadhav’s name had been omitted from the TV version of the interview and not the radio version, and that it was not done to censor the minister’s words.
Because “clearly confusion has been caused”, the BBC said it would restore the omitted “short section” to the programme and air the new TV version again tonight as well as tomorrow morning.
Shameful how BBC censored and chopped off Asad's mention of Indian spymaster Jhadav! Typical bias of BBC! https://t.co/sw1ReRmeJj
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) December 13, 2018
The issue was appointed out by Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari in her tweet in which she said, “Shameful how BBC censored and chopped off Asad’s mention of Indian spymaster Jhadav! Typical bias of BBC!”