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Tweets sharing BBC documentary criticizing PM Modi taken down by Centre

Tweets sharing BBC documentary criticizing PM Modi taken down by Centre

New Delhi: A BBC documentary about the 2002 Gujarat riots and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been ordered to be removed from Twitter and YouTube by the centre, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

The microblogging and video-sharing platforms no longer host several tweets and YouTube videos from the documentary "India: The Modi Question."

A day after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak distanced himself from the documentary series, saying he "doesn't agree with the characterisation" of his Indian counterpart in the UK's parliament by Pakistan-origin MP Imran Hussain, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry instructed the two social media giants to block the first episode of the BBC documentary, according to people familiar with the situation, NDTV reported.

According to the persons, the ministry instructed Twitter to delete more than 50 tweets regarding the documentary by Britain's national television.

One of the opposition figures whose tweet about the documentary was deleted by Twitter was 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 the PM hates minorities," Mr O'Brien alleged.

According to those with knowledge of the situation, the I&B Ministry used emergency powers granted under the Information Technology Rules, 2021, to compel the removal of the links, and both YouTube and Twitter have agreed to comply.

India has referred to the film as "propaganda," saying it lacks objectivity and exhibits a colonial mentality.

According to insiders, the centre has also ordered Twitter and YouTube to remove any new links to the documentary that are posted or tweeted.

People with direct knowledge of the situation said that after closely examining the documentary, officials from several ministries, including home and foreign in addition to I&B, concluded that it was an attempt to undermine the Supreme Court's authority and credibility, sow discord among Indian communities and make unsubstantiated allegations about the actions of foreign governments in India.

PM Modi, who was Gujarat's Chief Minister when the riots started in February 2002, was not found to have committed any wrongdoing, according to a probe ordered by the Supreme Court.

Mr Sunak, the son-in-law of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, shutdown the MP of Pakistani descent yesterday for bringing up the documentary in the British parliament and said, "The UK government's position on this has been clear and long-standing and hasn't changed, of course, we don't tolerate persecution where it appears anywhere but I am not sure I agree at all with the characterization that the honourable gentleman has put forward to."

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TAGS:TwitterCentral GovernmentBBC documentary
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