Why has BBC’s report on India’s snake charmers left social media users incensed?


On Monday British Broadcasting Corporation found itself in the midst of growing social media outrage because of its one piece of editorial presented out of context.

BBC Pop Up, whose report sought to explore the life of India’s famous snake-charmers, tweeted asking users if India should “erase its snake charming culture to embrace modernity.”

This question caused huge outrage with visibly offended Indian users slamming the Britain’s public service broadcaster for its perceived insensitive question reminding India of its past as the land of snake charmers.

BBC Pop Up,  which is a ‘travelling bureau that films your story ideas’ to broadcast on the organisation’s international TV channel BBC World TV, had commissioned a report on the life of India’s snake charmers.

In the three-and-a-bit-minute long video, the BBC reporters spoke to a marketing professional, Delhi’s tourism minister, Kapil Sharma, and visited the village of snake charmers near the national capital.

Faced with the established negative portrayal coupled with alleged cruelty against snakes, the Indian government had banned snake charmers from performing with the reptiles in 2003.

But, no sooner had the BBC Pop Up posed the above question on its twitter page, visibly incensed Indian users flooded its timeline with angry and sarcastic responses.

Though the BBC Pop Up attempted to explain the context but it didn’t appear to convince the irate social media users.

It said, “We didn’t intend to offend. Our video from the perspective of snake charmers who no longer have a livelihood.”

Here is a snapshot of how their responses:



You can watch the programme on India’s snake charmers here




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