I&B Ministry Blocks Links to BBC Documentary on Modi, Opposition Lashes Out

I&B Ministry has issued directions for blocking YouTube videos of BBC's documentary about PM Modi.

What We Know
2 min read
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The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos of the first episode of BBC's documentary 'India: The Modi Question', said Kanchan Gupta, Senior Adviser to the Ministry on Saturday, 21 January.

Meanwhile, Derek O'Brien, Trinamool Congress MP alleged that his tweet on BBC's documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was taken down.

What the controversy is all about:

The documentary is about PM Modi and his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. It was not made available by BBC. However, the it was available on YouTube. Many people, including Derek O'Brien, had accessed the documentary elsewhere and shared these links on their social media handles. All such posts that contained links to the documentary, have been blocked.

The documentary was termed as a "propaganda piece" that reflects the “agencies and individuals” who carry a “colonial mindset”, by an official of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday.

Derek O'Brien's allegations:

The TMC leader tweeted that Twitter had taken down his tweet on the BBC documentary and that the tweet had received lakhs of views. He said that the hour-long BBC documentary reveals how the PM "hates minorities".


What does the mail read?

The screenshots shared by O'Brien read, "In order to comply with Twitter's obligations under India's local laws, we have withheld this content in India; the content remains available elsewhere."

It also added, "As Twitter strongly believes in defending and respecting the voices of our users, it is out policy to notify our users if we receive a request from an authorized entity (such as law enforcement or a government agency) to remove content from their account."

Posts by Other Twitter Users Blocked

A tweet from Prashant Bhuhan's account, about the documentary was also removed by Twitter. In place of the tweet, one can see this disclaimer by Twitter: "This Tweet from @pbhushan1 has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand." Other Twitter users who had posted links to the documentary also claimed that their posts were taken down.

What is the government saying about the documentary?

Kanchan Gupta, Senior Adviser, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said that tweets sharing links to the documentary, have been "blocked under India’s sovereign laws and rules".

He said that the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has issued directions for blocking multiple YouTube videos of the first episode of BBC's "hateful propaganda". Orders were also issued to Twitter for blocking over 50 tweets with links to these videos.

He said that multiple ministries, examined the documentary and found that it was "casting aspersions on the authority and credibility of Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various Indian communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations".

"Accordingly, @BBCWorld’s vile propaganda was found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India's friendly relations with foreign countries as also public order within the country," he added to his thread of tweets.

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