Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  Case

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. File | Photo credit: ANI

The Internet Archive, an American repository of web page archives and media downloads by users around the world, has removed a widely circulated download of the first BBC episode. The Modi Questionthe documentary commissioned on YouTube and Twitter by the Union government, The Hindu found. “This item is no longer available,” reads a message on the download. “Items may be removed for a variety of reasons, including by uploader’s decision or due to a violation of our Terms of Service.”

Internet Archive did not respond to a request from The Hindu sent on Sunday about how he would react if asked to remove the documentary. The site has become one of the main sources where the documentary has been shared for viewing by Indian users, even as the BBC moves to restrict it for copyright reasons on YouTube; the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting separately ordered the video-sharing site as well as Twitter to remove uploads and links to the documentary.

It is unclear whether the removal of this particular upload was the result of a request from the Indian government or the BBC. The British public broadcaster has not allowed the two-part documentary series to be shown in India, either on its own iPlayer streaming service or on YouTube, where uploads by individual users went viral before being removed . Further downloads of the episode continue to be available, although it is unclear if they will remain on the site.

The documentary revealed that a British government committee found Prime Minister Narendra Modi guilty of the violence of the Gujarat riots in 2002, and that the violence occurred “under the protection of the state government”. The Ministries of Information and Broadcasting and External Affairs both condemned the documentary, with Kanchan Gupta, a senior adviser to the latter, saying it was “hostile propaganda and anti-Indian rubbish”. .

The Internet Archive was briefly blocked in India in 2017, when the producers of Shah Rukh Khan star Jab Harry meets Sejal included a link to the site in a so-called petition by John Doe to the Madras High Court to temporarily block several file sharing sites which they claim may be distributing illegal copies of the film while it is being released to theaters.

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is committed to highlighting important issues around the world. The documentary series examines the tensions between India’s Hindu majority and the Muslim minority and explores Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy in relation to these tensions. This has been the source of considerable news and interest both in India and globally in recent years.

“The documentary has been rigorously researched to the highest editorial standards. A wide range of voices, witnesses and experts were approached, and we presented a range of opinions – this includes responses from BJP members. We offered the Indian government the right to answer questions raised in the series – they refused to answer.

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