BBC Links on Modi Documentary Taken Down; What the Rules Say?

India is generally viewed positively worldwide, with a median of 46% of adults holding a favourable view of the country. However, views of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi are more mixed, with a 37% median expressing confidence in him, while 40% lack confidence, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research centre.

The links to the widely circulated first episode of the BBC’s “The Modi Question” questioning his leadership when he was at the helm of Gujarat when the state was plagued with communal riots that saw many Muslims die in 2002, has been taken down.


The Centre had last week directed YouTube and twitter to take down the links. Moreover, directions were also issued for taking down over 50 tweets which had links to videos about the documentary. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) gave the direction under the emergency provisions of the Information Technology Rules, 2021, for allegedly casting “aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sowing divisions among various communities, and making unsubstantiated allegations regarding actions of foreign governments in India”.


Prominent individuals and politicians had shared the link of the documentary. Some of them included Trinamool MP Derek O’Brien, Hollywood actor John Cusack and senior advocate Prashant Bhushan.


Several ministers in the Modi government condemned the documentary. India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the government thinks “this is a propaganda piece designed to push a particular discredited narrative.”


Under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021), the Government has powers to issue content take down notices to social media intermediaries like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook in emergency situations “for which no delay is acceptable”.

As per rules. In case of emergency nature, the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting may, if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable for blocking for public access of any information or part thereof through any computer resource and after recording reasons in

writing, as an interim measure issue such directions as he may consider necessary to such identified or identifiable persons, publishers or intermediary in control of such computer resource hosting such information or part thereof without giving him an opportunity of hearing.


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