The Indian government has banned a documentary of the Kashmir attack on the 2016 terrorist attack: a digital rights activist voiced against Prime Minister Modi
The script for mostofa sarwar roxoni’s movie was submitted to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He had received permission to cast prominent Indian and Palestinian actors, in addition to Bangladeshi artists.
But even as the film, “Saturday Afternoon” — a single-shot feature loosely based on the 2016 terrorist attack at a bakery in Dhaka, the capital, that left 24 dead — has been screened to applause and awards at festivals abroad, Bangladesh’s government has refused to permit its release at home.
For three years, the country’s film censor board has been denying Mr. Farooki’s appeals — an indication, analysts and activists say, of how the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is shrinking the space for free speech, sometimes in arbitrary ways.
“They didn’t inform us of a specific reason,” Mr. Farooki said of the film’s rejection. “They only said the film might tarnish the image of the country or incite religious unrest.”
Akash was unsure of if he was allowed to talk about the documentary India: The Modi Question on his channel. The documentary examines Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s alleged role in deadly riots in the West Indian state of Gujarat in 2002, and the government has worked hard to keep Indians from watching it. Screenings at universities have been banned; in one case, students said authorities shut off electricity and the internet to stop it being shown, and clips of the documentary itself have been removed from Twitter and YouTube after the Indian government cited controversial emergency powers.
Emergency powers are used to give the government power that threatens the peace of the nation and is a very serious grave security implication, says Banerjee, who runs a satirical YouTube channel. Using that, the government has banned a documentary that talks about “something that happened years ago.”
The government will add more legislation that will likely expand its powers in the next few months. According to lawyers, digital rights activists, and journalists, this is an attempt to change the internet in India into a less free, more pluralistic place for its 800 million users. It could have a big effect on internet governance in India as well as in other countries, forcing changes at Big Tech companies and setting precedents.
The Indian government’s Big Tech battle began with a dispute over farm laws. In late 2020 and early 2021, tens of thousands of farmers marched to protest proposed agricultural reforms, which were repealed at the end of the year. The movement was mirrored online, with farmers and unions using social media platforms—including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram—to galvanize support. On Twitter, popular accounts, like that of global music star Rihanna, expressed solidarity with the protesters. Jack Dorsey liked celebrity posts supporting farmers.