Australian channel’s satirical YouTube video directed to be blocked by union government

A satirical takedown of the ruling government in India by an Australian channel has prompted the government to direct YouTube to take down the video.

On June 11, the Indian government blocked a YouTube video by The Juice Media, a channel known globally for its satire on political events and issues. The channel has revealed that YouTube had notified them of the block following a request from India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The video in question is titled “Honest Government Ad: India.”

The Juice Media is an Australian media channel that publishes satirical takes on governments and issues across the world. They have previously made similar satirical takedowns on political issues in Brazil, Australia, and the UK as well.

The video that is found objectionable by the government is still up on the channel’s Instagram page. The video shows a satirical take on the role of the ruling government and the recent Lok Sabha elections, even citing the ‘harassment and threats to opposition and journalists.’ Ironically the video has also called out autocrising democracies worldwide.

According to the notice issued by the government, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has cited several violations of various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for the block. Some of these include, Section 153 ( Provocation to cause a riot), Section 504 (Intent to provoke a breach of peace) and Section 505 (Making statements to cause public mischief). According to the government, the video has also violated Section 2 of the Prevention of Insults to the National Honour Act, 1971.

This is not the first time The Juice Media has faced attempts at censorship. According to The Guardian, two months ago, the Juice Media was directed to remove a video featuring the image of the Tasmanian premier or face severe penalties.

Earlier last week, comedian and talk show host in the USA, John  Oliver had also made a video on the Indian government and elections in his show Last Week Tonight, highlighting press censorship. The segment of the show, which was titled ‘Indian Elections, Trump & Red Lobster’, was reportedly restricted by Ambani-owned streaming platform, JioCinema.

These incidents of censorship are not new, especially over the last decade. In the run down to the Lok Sabha elections, several media platforms and journalists have been receiving similar notices from YouTube.

For instance, just a week before India’s Lok Sabha elections in April, 2024, the YouTube channel of Bolta Hindustan, an independent news platform, had been banned. The notice, sent on April 3rd, cited violations of the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Information Technology Rules, 2021. The notice had also said that it would not disclose the specific reasons for the ban. Bolta Hindustan had reiterated that they maintain high journalistic standards and principles and would take legal steps to challenge the ban if the ban were not lifted.  However, a month later, in May, YouTube reinstated the channel, apologising for any inconvenience caused.

Since the beginning of 2024, which saw India’s 18th Lok Sabha elections take place, a number of independent media portals and independent voices have faced censorship by the government. Some of them include, Bolta Hindustan, National Dastak, Media Swaraj, Hindus for Human Rights, Indian-American Muslim Council, tribal leader Hansraj Meena, journalist Mandeep Punia etc., also saw their social media accounts banned.

In February, 2024, X, formerly Twitter, owner Elon Musk also confirmed and disclosed that the Indian government had asked the tech giant to ban accounts. Musk said that he had been asked by the government to withhold ‘some accounts’, but that he believed in press freedom and disagrees with these moves.

Interestingly, according to Business Standard, X had tried to challenge the government’s movies to ban and withhold some accounts. However, its petition was declined and declared ‘devoid of merits.’ It also incurred a penalty of rupees 50 lakhs by the Karnataka High Court for not complying with the government’s orders before challenging them.



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