Union Minister for Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday asked social media firms not to allow their platforms to be used to “weaken the morale of the country”. He said the government respects freedom of expression, but “in the light of the current situation”, social media firms should not put out videos which harm the country’s morale, PTI reported.

The Ministry of Information Technology had on Thursday sent a notice to video streaming website YouTube, asking it to remove 11 links of “humiliating videos” about Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. Reports claimed these videos were subsequently removed.

Pakistani jets had on Wednesday downed Abhinandan’s MiG-21 over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during a dogfight with Indian aircraft. A video of the incident showed Abhinandan being beaten up by Pakistani villagers before being rescued by the Air Force and taken into custody. However, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has said the wing commander will be released on Friday as a “goodwill gesture”.

“I appeal to social media players that while the government is in favour of freedom of expression, their platforms should not be allowed to be misused,” Prasad said on Thursday. He said it was “unfortunate” that Pakistan was circulating such videos on YouTube, The Indian Express reported. The minister said the Home Ministry provided information about the videos to the IT ministry, following which it contacted YouTube.