Variety

Hotstar blocks John Oliver’s show on Modi and Trump

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 26, 2020 Published on February 26, 2020

John Oliver   -  Reuters

John Oliver shot the show prior to President Trump’s maiden visit to India

Video streaming platform Hotstar India has blocked an episode of John Oliver’s show that criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The show was banned as the comedian took a jibe on Narendra Modi while previewing President Donald Trump’s visit to India on his ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’, Quint reported.

The show on Trump’s visit to India was supposed to be aired on Hotstar at 6 a.m. on Tuesday for India. However, when subscribers logged in, they could only find older episodes of the show. According to Bloomberg’s report, a representative for India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry maintained that the government wasn’t involved in the matter.

John Oliver shot the show prior to President Trump’s maiden visit to India. Trump’s arrival came amid clashes breaking out in the national capital over contentious citizenship law.

Oliver made a remark on Modi saying, “While Modi may have charmed Bear Grylls, 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.”

Oliver said in the episode, which can be viewed on the show’s Youtube account. “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,” Quint reported.

Referring to one of the seven wonders of the world Taj Mahal, he said: “India, home of this enduring symbol of love, frankly deserves a lot more than this temporary symbol of hate (while referring to Modi).”

People expressed displeasure on Twitter over the ban on the episode. A user tweeted: “Disney India banned John Oliver's episode criticizing Modi because enabling Nazis is a time-honored tradition at Disney since the world war 2.”

While another wrote: “A good example of how illiberal regimes can generate pressure for private-sector self-censorship. "An episode of John Oliver’s show that criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been blocked in India by Hotstar, the local platform run by Walt Disney Co."

However, this is not the first time streaming services such as Hotstar have banned shows from being telecasted in India. In 2019, Amazon.com Inc. removed an episode of the CBS show Madam Secretary from its streaming service in India, the Quint reported. The episode had references to Hindu nationalism and Hindu extremists in “Indian administered Kashmir.”

Published on February 26, 2020
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