After I&B Ministry Order, YouTube Blocks India From Viewing Australian Show on Nijjar Allegations

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After I&B Ministry Order, YouTube Blocks India From Viewing Australian Show on Nijjar Allegations

| Updated: March 28, 2024 08:49

At the Union government’s behest, YouTube has blocked Indians from viewing an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) documentary episode about the government’s alleged role in killing Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, the broadcaster said on Wednesday (March 27).

YouTube emailed the ABC on Sunday (March 24) saying it had received an order from the Union information and broadcasting ministry regarding the episode, which is titled ‘Sikhs, Spies and Murder: Investigating India’s alleged hit on foreign soil’.

It also said it received orders to block a different ABC video news item on how Australian intelligence personnel met Sikhs living in the country regarding Nijjar’s murder.

This comes two weeks after YouTube and X (formerly Twitter) blocked a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) story and materials related to it respectively that reportedly featured footage showing Nijjar’s killing, also on Union government orders.

A spokesperson for the ABC said the blocked episode “was meticulously researched and balanced and sought an array of perspectives, and upholds the highest editorial standards”.

“We defend the audience’s fundamental right to access this story, regardless of their location,” the spokesperson added.

Nijjar, who the Union home affairs ministry said was a terrorist, was gunned to death outside a gurdwara in Canada in June.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alleged in public later last year that his government had “credible reasons” to believe that Indian government agents were involved in Nijjar’s killing.

The allegations triggered a diplomatic row between the two countries, which led to the withdrawal of over 40 Canadian diplomats and restrictions on Indian visas for Canadian nationals.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the ABC said its journalists faced pressure from Indian authorities while working on ‘Sikhs, Spies and Murder’.

“They were questioned by Indian criminal intelligence officials about the nature of the reporting and were blocked from filming a public event in Punjab,” the ABC statement alleged.

The Union government has asserted it is not cooperating with Canada in the investigation into Nijjar’s death.

In November, US prosecutors accused an Indian national named Nikhil Gupta of plotting to kill a Sikh activist who is believed to be Gurpatwant Singh Pannun on American soil. They also linked the plot to murder Pannun with Nijjar’s murder.

Pannun has also been designated a terrorist by the home ministry.

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