BBC accused of 'extraordinary' act of 'censorship' for editing play on Muslim honour killings
London, Jan. 30 : The British broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been accused of an 'extraordinary' act of censorship for ordering a playwright to edit certain lines from a Radio 4 drama about honour killings.
In an episode for the broadcaster's DCI Stone series, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti told the story of an investigation into the killing of a 16-year-old Asian girl.
When it came to light that the teenager had been a victim of a so-called honour killing, the fictional detective is advised to handle the case "sensitively" because the family is Muslim, the Telegraph reports.
At the end of the episode, called Heart Of Darkness and due to be broadcast in the Afternoon Drama slot this week, a character said that "there is so much pressure in our community, to look right and to behave right."
Bhatti said that a week before recording she received an email from the producer saying the BBC compliance department had asked them to take lines out.
She added that 'it is an extraordinary and awful situation. They said the lines were offensive but they absolutely were not'.
The BBC's alleged "censorship" of Bhatti's work came after her controversial play Behzti was withdrawn from a Birmingham theatre after protests from Sikhs in 2004.
The play featured scenes of rape, abuse and murder inside a Sikh temple and sparked demonstrations outside the Birmingham Rep.
A Radio 4 spokesman told The Independent that "this is a hard-hitting drama about the realities of honour killing in Britain'.
He said that "a single line in the script could be taken to infer that the pressure and motivation to commit such a crime in a family comes from the wider Muslim community, potentially misrepresenting majority British Muslim attitudes to honour killing'.
He added that 'Bhatti was asked to amend the line in the normal editorial process of script development', the report added.