The most important thing for the current ruling government of India is its image. They will wash, wipe, dust, and even bury information that does not show them in “whiter than white” light. The public allows them to do so by silently watching the truth being twisted and more often than not, erased. The latest example is the BBC documentary, “India: The Modi Question,” which examined the role of the current prime minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, in the violent 2002 riots that saw over 1,000 deaths, mostly Muslims. The documentary highlighted memos and reports criticizing Modi, including one that said the riots had “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing.”
As India went on to celebrate its 74th Republic Day and displayed affection towards its Constitution, which boasts of fundamental rights and duties that its people should adhere to, Twitter censored links to the documentary at the request of the Indian government. This may sound oxymoronic, but not as much as Elon Musk’s statements on Twitter’s commitment to “free speech.”
YouTube spokesperson Jack Malon told The Intercept that the BBC documentary had been removed from the platform because of a copyright claim by the BBC, but declined to comment on takedown demands from the Indian government.
Pushing back against censorship of the BBC documentary, members of the Indian Parliament from the opposition All India Trinamool Congress party Mahua Moitra and Derek O’Brien defiantly posted links to it online and which received millions of views before the connection was deactivated.
With India bringing in high business for the Big Tech platforms, due to the sheer power of its population, it was just a matter of time before they bowed down to the draconian wishes of the government. The BBC documentary bore the brunt for putting the truth out there. Alas, with the national elections in India coming up in 2024, this was definitely bad timing for Modi and his ardent fans. Their bleached whites started showing drops of red, which was not the image they wanted to be seen.
Action by the Indian government against the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” was swift and draconian. While global giants like Twitter and YouTube have caved, Indian students are out on the streets and planning screenings, even when they know how such acts can put their lives at risk.
The zeal to allow free speech is a tremendous one. Those who fight for it, zealously guard it. Those who abhor it, simply want to put it in a cage.
Sorry, Twitter, this blot on your resolve for free speech will be remembered and looked down upon forever.
Not competent enough to sit idle and stare as the world goes by, Pallavi is optimistic to a fault and believes in building her world on her own rather than depending on others to make things right.