YouTube has blocked access in India to an episode of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s news series Foreign Correspondent and a news package on a Sikh separatist’s death after receiving an order from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the broadcaster said on Wednesday.

The episode, titled Sikhs, Spies and Murder: Investigating India’s alleged hit on foreign soil, was regarding the killing of Canadian Sikh separatist leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar in June last year outside a gurdwara in Surrey.

Nijjar’s killing had led to diplomatic strife between New Delhi and Ottawa. In September last year, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told his country’s parliament that intelligence agencies were actively pursuing “credible allegations” tying agents of the Indian government to the Sikh separatist’s death. India had described this claim as “absurd and motivated”.

On Sunday, YouTube sent an email to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation stating that it had received an order from the ministry to block the content. The platform said that the specific order was “confidential” and that it came under India’s Information Technology Act, 2000, the news website said.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation alleged on Wednesday that its crew had faced pressure from Indian authorities while working on the episode. “They were questioned by Indian criminal intelligence officials about the nature of the reporting and were blocked from filming a public event in Punjab,” the news website said.

The broadcaster said it stood by the journalism of the story. “It was meticulously researched and balanced and sought an array of perspectives, and upholds the highest editorial standards,” its spokesperson said in a statement.

“We defend the audience’s fundamental right to access this story, regardless of their location,” said the spokesperson.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said that YouTube had also blocked a news package on a story in connection with Australian Security Intelligence Organisation agents meeting with Sikh activists in Australia on Nijjar’s death.

It added that the blocking of the videos comes weeks before the Lok Sabha elections in India where Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term.

Earlier this month, YouTube and social media platform X had blocked access in India to a story by CBC News’ The Fifth Estate on Nijjar’s killing after receiving a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology order.

Last year, the Centre directed YouTube and Twitter to remove links to the first episode of the two-part documentary “India: The Modi Question” by the BBC.

The documentary showed that a team sent by the British government to inquire into the 2002 Gujarat riots had found that Modi, who was then the state’s chief minister, was “directly responsible for a climate of impunity” that led to the violence.

Official records show that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed in the riots.

The documentary also featured a former senior diplomat, one of the investigators sent by the United Kingdom government, who said that the violence had been planned by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindutva organisation, is the parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.