Along with YouTube videos, the Centre has also directed Twitter to block over 50 tweets containing links to the concerned YouTube videos.
Both YouTube and Twitter complied with the government after directions were reportedly issued by Secretary, Information and Broadcasting on Friday using the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021.
“We think this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative. The bias and the lack of objectivity and frankly continuing colonial mindset are blatantly visible,” said external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a weekly media briefing.
“Even though the documentary was not made available in India by BBC in India, some YouTube channels appear to have uploaded it to promote an anti-India agenda,” he added.
‘Documentary undermines sovereignty’
Sources said that YouTube has also been instructed to block the video if it is again uploaded on its platform. They added Twitter has also been directed to identify and block the tweets containing the link to the video on other platforms.
This decision was made after top government officials from across several ministries examined the documentary and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India and sow divisions among various Indian communities.
The sources added that the documentary was accordingly found to be undermining sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign States.
‘Delusions of British Imperial resurrection’
Meanwhile, retired judges, retired bureaucrats and retired armed forces veterans co-signed and released a statement on Saturday rebutting the BBC documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “delusions of British Imperial resurrection”.
The letter, signed by over 300 senior government officers, judges and veterans, read: “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 that “yet again, the staple, dyed-in-the-wool negativity and unrelenting prejudice of the BBC towards India has resurfaced as a documentary, India: The Modi Question.”
Judge and jury
They said that the 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.
“So, now we have the archetype of British past imperialism in India setting itself up as both judge and jury, to resurrect Hindu-Muslim tensions that were overwhelmingly the creation of the British Raj policy of divide and rule.”
“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.”
The signatories accused 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.
“This documentary is not a neutral critique, it is not about exercising creative freedom, it is not even about a divergent, anti-establishment point of view. It is in fact a visibly motivated charge sheet against our leader, a fellow Indian and a patriot,” the letter added.
(With inputs from agencies)
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