The Centre has reportedly issued directions to block YouTube videos sharing the first episode of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question”. Along with YouTube videos, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has also directed Twitter to block over 50 tweets containing links to the concerned YouTube videos.
The directions were reportedly issued by Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday using the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021.
Meanwhile, a co-signed statement was released by retired judges, bureaucrats and armed forces veterans on Saturday rebutting the controversial BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “delusions of British Imperial resurrection”.
GOVT BLOCKS ACCESS TO BBC DOCUMENTARY
According to sources, senior officials of several ministries, including external affairs, home affairs, and information and broadcasting, examined the documentary and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court, sow divisions among various Indian communities, and make unsubstantiated allegations regarding actions of foreign governments in India.
They said the documentary was found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact friendly relations with foreign states as also public order within the country.
Orders have also been issued to Twitter for blocking of over 50 tweets containing links of the YouTube videos concerned, they said, adding that social media platforms have complied with the directions.
Reliable sources have confirmed that senior officials of multiple Ministries, including MEA, MHA and MIB, examined the documentary and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sow divisions among various Indian communities, and make unsubstantiated allegations regarding actions of foreign Governments in India.
The documentary was accordingly found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign States as also public order within the country.
GOVT CALLS BBC DOCUMENTARY A “PROPAGANDA PIECE”
Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs had described the BBC documentary as a “propaganda piece” that lacked objectivity and reflected a colonial mindset. The two-part BBC documentary claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief minister of the state.
“Let me just make it very clear that we think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias, the lack of objectivity, and frankly a continuing colonial mindset, are blatantly visible,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi had said on Thursday responding to questions on the documentary.
On comments made by former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on the riots, Bagchi said he seemed to be referring to some internal report of the UK government.
“How do I have access to that? It is a 20-year-old report. Why would I just jump on it now? Just because Jack Straw says it, how do they lend it that much legitimacy?” he wondered.
‘DELUSIONS OF BRITISH IMPERIAL RESURRECTION’
The letter signed by over 300 senior government officers, judges and veterans, called the controversial BBC documentary as “delusions of British Imperial resurrection”
“Not only is the BBC series — judging from what we’ve seen of it so far — based on delusional reporting, but presumes to question the very basis of 75-year-old edifice of India’s existence as independent, democratic nation that functions according to the will of the people of India,” the signatories said.
It further called the documentary “the staple, dyed-in-the-wool negativity and unrelenting prejudice of the BBC towards India”.
The letter further said that though BBC claims its series has been “rigorously researched according to the highest editorial standards”, and “examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and Muslim minority.”
However, there are “glaring factual errors apart, the series – which uses the words ‘allegedly’ and ‘reportedly’ repeatedly, (not ‘factually’) – reeks of motivated distortion that is as mind-numbingly unsubstantiated as it is nefarious.”
“This is demonstrated most vividly by its completely sidelining the core fact: that the apex judicial institution of India, the Supreme Court of India, has unambiguously ruled out any role of PM Modi in the Gujarat violence of 2002, while firmly rejecting allegations of complicity and inaction by the then Gujarat state government headed by chief minister Modi,” signatories said, accusing the BBC of “naturally thriving on sensationalism regardless of how false its basis”.
“This alone exposes the BBC’s malafides, and leads one to question the motivations behind this series,” the letter added.