Washington, Feb 15: The US has reaffirmed its conviction that "free press strengthens democracy" as a general rule without seeking to impose its views directly on the searches of BBC offices by income tax authorities in Delhi and Mumbai.
"I would need to refer you to Indian authorities for the details of this search," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said in a response to a question at the daily press briefing.
"Beyond this discrete action, what I'll say more broadly is the general point that I've consistently made in this context, but in a universal context as well: We support the importance of free press around the world. We continue to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief as human rights that contribute to strengthening democracies around the world. It has strengthened this democracy here in this country; it has strengthened India's democracy. These universal rights are the bedrock of democracies around the world."
Pressed further, Price said, "We're aware of the facts of these searches, but I'm just not in a position to offer a judgement."