Indian officials search BBC offices after Modi documentary

India’s government has announced that it will create a new body to regulate digital content, including streaming services and social media, in an effort to better control the flow of information and prevent the spread of fake news and other harmful content.

The new entity, called the Digital Media Ethics and Grievance Redressal Body, will have the power to require social media platforms and streaming services to remove content that violates its guidelines, as well as the ability to levy fines for non-compliance.

The move has raised concerns among free speech advocates, who worry that the government could use the new regulations to stifle dissent and limit freedom of expression. However, supporters argue that the new rules are necessary to protect the public from misinformation and other harmful content online.

India’s tax officials searched BBC offices in New Delhi and Mumbai on Tuesday, weeks after it aired a documentary critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the U.K., the broadcaster said.

Rights groups and opposition politicians denounced the move by India’s Income Tax Department as an attempt to intimidate the media.

Britain’s publicly funded national broadcaster said it was cooperating fully with authorities and hoped “to have this situation resolved as soon as possible.” Late in the evening, the BBC said officials were still at the two offices.

“Many staff have now left the building but some have been asked to remain and are continuing to cooperate with the ongoing inquiries,” it said, adding: “Our output and journalism continues as normal.”

Indian tax authorities declined to comment.

The tax department was looking at documents related to the BBC’s business operations and its Indian arm, the Press Trust of India news agency reported, citing unidentified sources.