The two-part documentary, India: The Modi Question, has not been broadcast in India by the BBC, but the nation’s federal government blocked it over the weekend and banned people from sharing clips on social media, citing emergency powers under its information technology laws.
Twitter and YouTube were ordered by the Indian government to block all links to the film within the country, Kanchan Gupta, a senior adviser in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said Tuesday.
He later said that both platforms ‘have complied with the directions’.
Musk markets himself as a free speech advocate, but his running of Twitter since October has been criticised as calamitous, with huge layoffs and experts predicting an eventual crash of the company.
On November 16, Twitter staff were told that they needed to sign a pledge to be able to stay on in their roles where they would be ‘working long hours at high intensity’ or receive three months of severance pay, resulting in a mass exodus.
Days later Musk announced that former president Donald Trump would have his Twitter account reinstated, tweeting: ‘The people have spoken’.
After a Twitter poll on the subject, Musk tweeted on December 21: ‘I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!’
The first part of the Modi documentary, released last week by the BBC for its UK audiences, revives the most controversial episode of Modi’s political career when he was the chief minister of western Gujarat state in 2002. It focuses on bloody anti-Muslim riots in which more than 1,000 people were killed.
Days after India blocked the documentary and banned people from sharing it online, authorities are scrambling to halt screenings of the film at colleges and universities and restrict clips of it on social media, a move that has been decried by critics as an assault on press freedom.
Tensions escalated in the capital, New Delhi, on Wednesday at Jamia Millia University where a student group said it planned to screen the banned documentary, prompting scores of police officers equipped with tear gas and riot gear to gather outside campus gates.
Police, some in plain clothes, scuffled with protesting students and detained at least half a dozen of them, who were taken away in a van.
The university cut off power and the internet on its campus on Tuesday before the documentary was scheduled to be screened by a students’ union.
Authorities said it would disturb peace on campus, but students nonetheless watched the documentary on their laptops and mobile phones after sharing it on messaging services like Telegram and WhatsApp.