German Ambassador to India welcomes debate over BBC documentary ban

| Monday, March 9, 2015 - 11:16
First Published |

German Ambassador to India Michael Steiner on Sunday said the "intention" of the BBC documentary on December 16 gangrape was to show "reality" and welcomed the nationwide debate over the ban on its telecast in India. However, he did not comment on the Indian government's decision to ban its telecast saying it was not for him to "agree or disagree" even as he welcomed a very "healthy debate" in the wake of the ban.

The Ambassador said he could see the recognition to "show things as they are", terming it as the basis for change.

"It is encouraging that we have a lively debate here. I think the intention of the film is to show a reality and this is the first step and the discussion after the film is itself very healthy," he told reporters on the sidelines of an event on International Women's Day at the German Embassy in New Delhi.

BBC, which telecast the documentary earlier this week, has been served a legal notice by the government even as the Home Minister has ordered an investigation into how the permission was granted to interview rape convict Mukesh Singh in July 2013 and also to fix the responsibility.

Vice President of the German Parliament Claudia Roth was also present on the occasion where Steiner announced a renewed funding agreement with NGO Centre for Social Research (CSR).

"It is a day of solidarity. We have a long way to go considering the atrocities on women in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan or the their condition in refugee camps in Syria or Lebanon. We need to make sure that everyday is International Women's Day," Roth said in her speech.

As per the agreement, Germany will provide around Rs 70 lakh for a new CSR project on "saving female foetuses and working against pre-natal sex selection", a statement said.

Earlier, addressing the gathering, Steiner praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "powerful statements" on the gender equality debate. "The Prime Minister made a strong statement when he said don't blame your daughters but hold your sons accountable instead."

Asked to comment on the brutal stabbing of a 41-year-Indian women techie in Australia, he said, " I think this issue exists in all societies including the ones they claim to be developed in all fields. This is why it is a global and universal phenomenon." 

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