UN envoy Lilly Singh calls on India to show comic tolerance
New Delhi, India - Comic and UN ambassador Lilly Singh has called on the Indian government to be more tolerant of satire after a popular comedy group was slapped with criminal charges over allegations that they insulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“If you watch something and it makes you laugh, great. If it doesn’t, that comedy isn’t wrong. It’s just not suitable for you,” the Canadian Internet sensation recently told AFP on the sidelines of a trip to New Delhi as the Unicef Global Goodwill Ambassador.
Last week Indian comedy group AIB were put under investigation for defamation and publishing obscene material online after a social media post poking fun at Modi.
The troupe posted a photograph of a Modi look-alike alongside an image of the real Prime Minister’s face superimposed with a dog’s features using a Snapchat filter. The post went viral, but sparked a backlash from Modi supporters. AIB later deleted the post.
“Comedy is very subjective... and the best thing you can do is promote what you love, don’t bash what you hate,” said Singh, who met students in the Indian capital and in Madhya Pradesh state as a UNICEF ambassador.
“Comedy is the best way to express views.”
The child of Indian migrants, Singh has over 11mn YouTube followers and is one of the chan- nel’s biggest earners.
The 28 year old has made her name with video rants, making fun of imaginary Punjabi parents and anti-sexism sketches.
In 2015 AIB fell foul of authorities when they were at the centre of an obscenity investigation over some explicit jokes in a comedy ‘roast’ show featuring several Bollywood stars.
New Unicef Global Goodwill Ambassador Lilly Singh speaks at a press conference in New Delhi on July 15