The recent episode of American show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has been blocked by Disney India which runs the show on Indian platform Hotstar, for being critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Here’s our piece from last night on India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi…https://t.co/uEfwMDdB6g
— John Oliver (@iamjohnoliver) February 24, 2020
In the recent episode of Emmy winning show, Oliver talks about, “India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi– why he’s popular, why he’s controversial, and where things are headed for the largest democracy in the world.” He says Narendra Modi’s government has “pursued a steadily escalating persecution of religious minorities. Persecution so intense that for the last two months Indians across the country have taken to the streets in anger.” He talks in reference to the ongoing protest and violence over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens.
In the 19 minute episode, Oliver also mentions Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru’s idea of secular India and compares it to the controversial statements of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders like Yogi Adityanath.
In the episode, Oliver also refers to one of his previous episodes on the Last Week Tonight show in 2014 when he talked about Modi’s campaign for the Prime Minister’s post against Rahul Gandhi. He talks about the success of Modi government in providing gas connections and building toilets in the country and calls it a “big deal.”
The episode came out when US President Donald Trump was visiting India amid communal riots in northeast Delhi where more than 20 people have lost their lives.
The recent move by Disney is not the first time companies have to censor shows critical of authoritarian governments. Last year Amazon Prime removed an episode of the CBS show Madam Secretary in India which had references to Hindu nationalism and Hindu extremists in “India-occupied Kashmir”