Twitter, YouTube Censor BBC Documentary on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Photo by Anant Sharma via Unsplash

Twitter, YouTube Censor BBC Documentary on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

By Movieguide® Staff

Twitter, recently acquired by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, recently agreed to to a request of censorship from the Indian Government, to the concern of free speech advocates.

The social media platform granted the Indian government’s request that the company delete all links to a BBC documentary that is allegedly critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The documentary in question is titled INDIA: THE MODI QUESTION and aired in two parts on BBC Two on Jan. 17.

“Narendra Modi is the leader of the world’s largest democracy, a man who has been elected twice as India’s prime minister and is widely seen as the most powerful politician of his generation,” BBC’s summary of the documentary reads. “Seen by the west as an important bulwark against Chinese domination of Asia, he has been courted as a key ally by both the US and the UK.”

“Yet Narendra Modi’s premiership has been dogged by persistent allegations about the attitude of his government towards India’s Muslim population,” BBC continues. “This series investigates the truth behind these allegations and examines Modi’s backstory to explore other questions about his politics when it comes to India’s largest religious minority.”

According to BBC, the first episode addresses Modi’s controversial response to 2002 riots which left over 1,000 people dead.

“This episode tracks Narendra Modi’s first steps into politics, including and his association with the right-wing Hindu organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata Party, and his appointment as chief minister of the state of Gujarat, where his response to a series of riots in 2002 remains a source of controversy,” the site reads.

However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Arindam Bagchi condemned the documentary, calling it “a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative.”

Although Twitter has seemingly relented to India’s demands, BBC released a statement defending the authenticity of the documentary.

THR reported: “In response, the BBC shared statements on social media saying that the film was ‘rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards.’”

According to Kanchan Gupta, a senior adviser in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, both YouTube and Twitter “complied with the directions” to block any link to the documentary within the country.

While most of the tweets about the film remain untouched outside the country, Twitter has taken down links shared by opposition to India’s Parliament.

“Sorry, Haven’t been elected to represent the world’s largest democracy to accept censorship,” Mahua Moitra, a member of the All India Trinamool Congress party, wrote. “Here’s the link. Watch it while you can.”

While Moitra’s post is still visible, the link to the BBC report is unavailable.

At the time of writing, Elon Musk has yet to respond.

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