City Research Online

BBC reporting in India in the 1970s and 1980s: globally connected media ahead of its time

Franks, S. (2012). BBC reporting in India in the 1970s and 1980s: globally connected media ahead of its time. Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, 32(2), pp. 207-224. doi: 10.1080/01439685.2012.669885


We are accustomed to the complaint that western media depict the developing world in a stereotyped and inadequate manner. However this article, using exclusive access to BBC archives, demonstrates that the way India was reported in the period 1970-1987 provides an exception to this characterisation. The material reveals that the there was surprisingly, an intense care and attention shown by broadcasters and managers to the coverage of India. The factors which underlay this include the growing confidence of the Indian diaspora population, a continuing interest by individual broadcasters in Indian affairs and the influence of an exceptional correspondent in Delhi throughout this period. Moreover the Indian government and indeed many Indian individuals maintained a critical interest, bordering sometimes on an obsession, in the portrayal of Indian affairs by the BBC. The networks between India and its UK diaspora enabled pressure to be exerted on the BBC which, as the records demonstrate, broadcasters took very seriously. This ability of Indians to ‘access’ their coverage (and then complain about it) is an early precursor to the much more available pattern of foreign reporting which prevails today in an era of globally available media.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television on 20 Apr 2012, available online:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
PDF - Accepted Version
Download (551kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login