Hot Topic: BBC Documentary On Modi

The Centre has ordered social media platforms, Twitter and YouTube, to remove the links of a BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said.

Following these orders, tweets and YouTube videos of the documentary “India: The Modi Question” have been blocked both on microblogging and video-sharing site.

Reportedly, the I&B ministry told the two social media giants to block the first episode of the BBC documentary. This comes a day after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak kept himself away from the documentary series and said he “doesn’t agree with the characterisation” of his Indian counterpart in the UK’s parliament by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain.

The I&B ministry also told Twitter to remove nearly 50 tweets relating to the documentary by the BBC. Prominent among those whose tweets on the documentary were removed include Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien.

“Censorship. Twitter has taken down my tweet of the BBC documentary. It received lakhs of views. The one-hour BBC documentary exposes how PM hates minorities,” O’Brien alleged.

The order to remove the links was given under emergency powers of the Information Technology Rules, 2021. Social media giants, YouTube and Twitter, have agreed to follow the order.

Meanwhile, over 300 ex-judges, bureaucrats, veterans slammed the Britain’s national broadcaster for the documentary on Modi. They examined the documentary closely and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court, divide various communities in India. They termed it “nefarious”.

India has called the documentary a “propaganda piece” that lacks objectivity. The video reflects a colonial mindset, the veterans felt.

The centre has also told YouTube and Twitter to take down fresh links of the documentary if some people upload or tweet them again, sources said.

Officials of several ministries including home and foreign, apart from I&B, have examined the documentary closely and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court, sow divisions among communities in India, people in the know said.

It is worth mentioning that a probe ordered by the Supreme Cour had found no evidence of wrongdoing by PM Modi, the CM of Gujarat when the riots broke out in February 2002.