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.
The comedian was previewing President Donald Trump’s visit to India on his Emmy-winning ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,’ which typically airs at 6 a.m. each Tuesday in the Asian nation. When subscribers logged in Feb. 25, they could only find older episodes. A Hotstar representative didn’t reply to an email and calls seeking comment. A representative for India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the government wasn’t involved in the matter.
Censorship in India
The incident is the latest to show how multinational businesses have to deal carefully in nations run by leaders often perceived as authoritarian. Trump’s visit to India comes amid protests against a new religion-based citizenship law, which erupted in violence hours before Trump landed in the national capital. Amazon.com Inc. last year 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 “India-occupied Kashmir,” a Himalayan region that’s been a longstanding flashpoint between India and arch-rival Pakistan.