Ministry of I&B blocks BBC documentary on PM Modi; Opposition lashes out.
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued directions to block YouTube videos, Twitter links to the 1st episode of the BBC documentary on Modi, titled, "India: The Modi Question".
According to reports, the directions were issued by I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra on January 20, using emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules, 2021. Both YouTube and Twitter have complied with the directions, said a source.
The controversial documentary produced by the United Kingdom’s public broadcaster on Modi talks about his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The documentary had earlier been termed a "propaganda piece" by an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) who added that the documentary reflects the “agencies and individuals” who carry a “colonial mindset.”
"While it was not made available in India by the BBC, some YouTube channels had uploaded it to promote an anti-India agenda,” a government official said.
It has been reported that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos of the first episode of BBC's "hateful propaganda". It has also issued orders to the microblogging site, Twitter for blocking over 50 tweets with links to these videos.
According to media reports, multiple ministries, including the MEA, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the I&B Ministry, examined the documentary and found the documentary to be "casting aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various Indian communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations regarding the actions of foreign governments in India."
“The documentary was accordingly found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign States, as also public order within the country,” said the official.
Reacting to the development, the Congress general secretary for communications Jairam Ramesh on Saturday tweeted: “PM and his drumbeaters assert that the new BBC documentary on him is slanderous. Censorship has been imposed. Then why did PM Vajpayee want his exit in 2002, only to be pressurised not to insist by the threat of resignation by Advani? Why did Vajpayee remind him of his rajdharma?”
Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien said his own tweet had been deleted. “Censorship... @[email protected] has taken down my tweet of the #BBCDocumentary, it received lakhs of views. The 1 [email protected] docu exposes how PM @narendramodi hates minorities,” he tweeted. He also posted a screenshot showing that his tweet had been withheld in India in response to a legal demand.