Congress approaches Election Commission, raised Bolta Hindustan ban

Calling out censorship of free speech during elections, Congress goes to the Election Commission of India with a list of complaints, one of which includes the ban of Bolta Hindustan’s YouTube channel.

Congress’ Gurdeep Singh Sappal has reportedly written to the Chief Election Commission of India regarding the ban on media platform Bolta Hindustan’s YouTube channel.

Speaking to the media, Sappal mentioned the ban on Bolta Hindustan, arguing that free speech should be preserved especially during elections, “It should not be something that is decided by the ministry but by the election commissioner- who was in agreement with us that free speech should always be protected.”

Sappal took to X, formerly Twitter, to post that a committee including himself, senior members of the Congress such as Jairam Ramesh, Paawan Khera, Salman Khurshid, and Mukul Wasnik had visited the chief election commissioner and submitted a list of complaints. The Congress also raised the complaint against PM Modi comparing the Congress manifesto to the politics of the Muslim League, and the broadcast of the ‘The Kerala Story’ by Doordarshan.

Bolta Hindustan, an independent media platform started in 2015 was hit with a YouTube ban on April 3 after a notice from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to Google’s legal team. The notice stated that the channel had violated the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Social media was hit with a huge outcry following the incident, sparking a hashtag #RestoreBoltaHindustanYT.

The team at Bolta Hindustan launched their YouTube channel in 2023 after many financial hurdles. By March 2024, they had garnered nearly 80 million views and amassed 300,000 subscribers. Unfortunately, following the notice from Google on April 3rd, the channel was abruptly shut down the next day. The team at Bolta Hindustan earlier informed Sabrang India that they face censorship frequently. Previously their Instagram account had also been banned a year before, and prior to that their page’s monetizing facility on Facebook was also withheld. The fate of their YouTube channel remains to be seen. The founder of Bolta Hindustan, Haseen Rahmani, earlier told Sabrang India, that they will take the legal route forward if required.



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