Emmy-winning ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver‘ show had one of its episode getting blocked by Disney India for showing critical remarks passed against Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. The episode which saw comedian previewing the high-profile visit made by the US President Donald Trump along with his family to India, also saw the host passing criticism against the PM of India. The said episode was blocked by Hotstar, the local platform which is run by Walt Disney Co.
His famous show ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ was going to air an episode on the comedian previewing Trump’s visit to India that typically airs 6 am every Tuesday in India. However, video streaming site Hotstar pulled down the episode that saw Oliver criticising Modi.
As reported by Bloomberg, when subscribers logged in to watch the episode on February, 25 they could not find the episode except the older ones.
On his 36-hour visit to India, Trump was bombarded with questions relating to Citizenship Amendment Act which already created a lot of controversy in India & even led to riots & protests in Northeast Delhi while the US President & his wife were in the national capital.
As per a Bloomberg report, the episode which got blocked from airing had Oliver say, “While Modi may have charmed Bear Grylls (the PM shot an episode of Grylls’ show Man vs Wild last year), the world, and our current president, in India he is an increasingly controversial figure because his government has pursued a steadily escalating persecution of religious minorities. The only glimmer of hope here is that for perhaps the first time in Modi’s whole career, his actions are creating a massive and sustained backlash.”
In the past as well, there have been cases where video streaming platforms have taken down episodes. Netflix Inc. had removed an episode of comedian Hasan Minhaj’s “Patriot Act” series in Saudi Arabia which criticised the kingdom’s powerful crown prince. Amazon.com Inc pulled down an episode of the CBS show Madam Secretary last year in India which referred to Hindu nationalism & Hindu extremists in India-occupied Kashmir.
A comment on the same is yet to be received by Hotstar representative who did not reply to calls & an email. Also, according to a representative from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the government had no involvement in this matter.