This Article is From Jan 22, 2023

"Emperor, Courtiers Insecure": Trinamool's Mahua Moitra Shares BBC Link

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has asked for links to the first episode of the BBC documentary be blocked, sources have said.

'Emperor, Courtiers Insecure': Trinamool's Mahua Moitra Shares BBC Link

Mahua Moitra said efforts to block the BBC documentary were "censorship"

New Delhi:

Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra on Sunday shared the link to a documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots and Prime Minister Narendra Modi produced by the BBC, which has been banned by the government.

Her post came a day after the central government, according to sources, ordered Twitter and YouTube to take down links to the first episode of the multi-part documentary titled "India: The Modi Question".

Reacting to the reports, Mahua Moitra had tweeted, "Govt on war footing to ensure noone in India can watch a mere BBC show. Shame that the emperor & courtiers of the world's largest democracy are so insecure (sic)."

The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry told the two social media giants to block the first episode of the BBC documentary, people familiar with the matter said, 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 ministry told Twitter to remove over 50 tweets on the documentary by Britain's national broadcaster, sources said.

Mahua Moitra's party colleague and MP Derek O'Brien was among some opposition leaders whose tweet on the documentary was removed by Twitter.

"Censorship. Twitter has taken down my tweet of the BBC documentary. It received lakhs of views. The one-hour BBC documentary exposes how PM hates minorities," Mr O'Brien alleged.

The I&B Ministry gave the order to take down the links using emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules, 2021, and both YouTube and Twitter have agreed to follow the order, people with knowledge of the matter said.

India has called the documentary a "propaganda piece" that lacks objectivity and reflects a colonial mindset.

The centre has also told YouTube and Twitter to take down fresh links to the documentary if some people upload or tweet them again, sources said.

Officials of several ministries including home and foreign, apart from I&B, have examined the documentary closely and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court, sow divisions among communities in India and make unsubstantiated allegations on actions of foreign governments in India, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

A Supreme Court-appointed investigation had found no evidence of wrongdoing by PM Modi, who was Chief Minister of Gujarat when the riots broke out in February 2002.