The Union government has ordered social media giants Twitter and YouTube to take down links of a BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat Muslim genocide and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, NDTV reported citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.
Many tweets and YouTube videos of the documentary no longer appear. The ministry told Twitter to remove over 50 tweets on the documentary by Britain’s national broadcaster, the people said to the news channel.
This comes two days after India‘s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said a “bias”, “lack of objectivity”, and “continuing colonial mindset” is “blatantly visible” in the BBC documentary, terming it a “propaganda piece” meant to push a “discredited narrative.“
On January 17, the first episode of the two-part BBC documentary India: The Modi Question was released. The documentary claimed that a team sent by the UK government to inquire into the Gujarat Muslim genocide 2002 said that Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that led to the anti-Muslim violence. The inquiry team had cited “reliable contacts” as saying that Modi met senior police officers on February 27, 2002, and “ordered them not to intervene” in the rioting, the documentary claimed.
The first part of the documentary was released on January 17 and removed from YouTube a day later while the second part of the documentary, which examines the Modi government’s track record following his re-election in 2019, will be released on January 24.
Trinamool Congress MP Derek O’Brien said today that Twitter deleted his post on the documentary citing legal obligations.
O’Brien had on Thursday posted a tweet with a YouTube link to the documentary. He had described the film as chilling and deeply researched, and said that it showed Narendra Modi’s hatred for minorities.
Twitter withheld the post for users in India, and said that it did so in response to a legal demand.
O’Brien said that this was an instance of censorship, and described the reason cited by Twitter as flimsy.
“Opposition will continue to fight the good fight,” he said.