India’s Daughter , the documentary by Leslee Udwin on the 2012 Delhi rape was watched on BBC 4 by 286,000 viewers, a spokesperson of the BBC told The Hindu . The telecast of the documentary, which was banned from being shown in India, was advanced by four days and aired on Wednesday March 4 (instead of Sunday, March 8). The BBC received 32 complaints and 4 letters of appreciation, said the spokesman.
The BBC Director Danny Cohen, in response to a letter sent by Rakesh Singh from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, wrote back defending both the quality of the documentary, and the decision of the broadcaster to telecast it.
India’s Daughter has a “strong public interest in raising awareness of a global problem,” Mr. Cohen said, adding that the BBC was satisfied with the assurances it had received from the production company that they had “gained access through the proper channels in order to conduct what was an extensive and considered interview.”
The remarks of Mukesh Singh, the accused, are “set among a number of other views, including those of the parents, ex-or present members of the judiciary, witnesses and personal testimonies. The purpose of including the interview with the perpetrator was to gain an insight into the mind-set of a rapist with a view to understanding the wider problem of rape and not just in India,” Mr. Cohen noted.
He assured Mr. Rakesh Singh that the BBC had no intention of showing the documentary in any territory that lies under Indian legal jurisdiction.
Mr. Cohen defended the film from criticism of it being “derogatory to women or an affront to their dignity.”
“Indeed, it highlights the challenges women in India face today,” he said.
Ms. Udwin’s film uses the incident of the 2012 gang rape and murder of the paramedic student Jyoti Singh to explore with both restraint and sensitivity the question of male attitudes to women in India today. Through a series of interviews – with Jyoti Singh’s remarkable parents Asha and Badri Singh, who show unswerving fortitude and dignity in the face of their tragedy, the accused Mukesh Singh, students, lawyers, activists, academics, and the jail psychologist, Ms Udwin offers the reasons and context for some of the deeply backward and reprehensible attitudes towards women in India.