NEW DELHI: Ministry of information and broadcasting has blocked two Kashmir-related websites and 20 YouTube channels.
Two websites — Kashmir Global and Kashmir Watch, have been ordered to be blocked in their entirety.
The 20 YouTube channels include The Punch Line, International Web News, Khalsa Tv, The Naked Truth, News 24, 48 news, Fictional, Historical Facts, Punjab Viral, Naya Pakistan Global, and Cover Story, among others.
Ministry has invoked Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules to block the websites and youtube channels. Notified in February this year, the rules empower the government to block access to news content under section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act.
The IT rules, which introduced an ethics code for digital media, required platforms to appoint officers, grievance redressal officers in case of over the top (OTT) platforms and digital news media platforms, institute a three-tier mechanism for grievance redressal with an inter-ministerial committee at its apex and spelt out the steps to be taken by the I&B ministry on dealing with content that falls foul of the code.
In two separate orders issued by I&B secretary Apurva Chandra, YouTube and the department of telecom were told to restrict access to the content on grounds of national security and integrity of the country.
“And whereas, after having gone through the information published by the aforementioned websites, I am satisfied that information posted on the above-mentioned websites is detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, and security of the state, and therefore falls within the ambit of section 69(A) of the IT Act,” Chandra states in his interim order to the department of telecom.
The orders to block the content have, however, been issued using the emergency powers granted to the secretary of I&B, who on being notified by the authorized officer, can order an immediate takedown of content.