New Delhi, Aug 18: The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has blocked eight YouTube channels, seven Indian and one Pakistan based, for spreading disinformation related to the country’s national security, foreign relations and public order.
The Ministry, utilizing the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, had issued orders for blocking the eight YouTube news channels, one Facebook account, and two Facebook posts.
The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore, and were subscribed by over 85 lakh users.
Analysis of content revealed that the purpose of the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India.
False claims were made in various videos of the blocked channels and content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country.
The channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States.
The content blocked by the Ministry was found to be detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, India’s friendly relations with foreign States, and public order in the country.
Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The blocked Indian YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.
All the eight channels were displaying advertisements on their videos having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations.
With this action, since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking 102 YouTube based news channels and several other social media accounts.
“The government of India remains committed towards ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwarting any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order,” the Ministry said.