The Indian government has instructed Twitter and YouTube to remove links to a BBC documentary about the 2002 Gujarat riots and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to sources familiar with the matter, tweets and YouTube videos of the documentary titled “India: The Modi Question” are no longer accessible on microblogging and video-sharing websites. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry ordered Twitter and YouTube to block the first episode of the BBC documentary.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the documentary series, stating that he does not agree with the portrayal of his Indian counterpart by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain in the UK’s parliament.
The Indian government has used its emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 to order the removal of links to the documentary. Twitter and YouTube have agreed to comply with the order. Additionally, the government has also instructed YouTube and Twitter to remove any new links of the documentary that may be uploaded or tweeted again, according to sources.
India has characterized the documentary as a “propaganda piece” that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset. Officials from multiple ministries, including the home, foreign and I&B, have closely examined the documentary and found it to be an attempt to cast doubt on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court, create divisions among communities in India, and make unverified claims about the actions of foreign governments in India, according to sources familiar with the matter. It is worth noting that a Supreme Court-appointed investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by PM Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat at the time of the riots in February 2002.