New Delhi: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on Thursday said eight YouTube channels, one Facebook account, and two Facebook posts have been blocked for showing fake news and spreading communal hatred.
The I&B Ministry issued the order on Tuesday, utilizing the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021.
The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crores and were subscribed to by over 85 lakh users.
The blocked YouTube channels include Loktantra Tv, which had 23,72,27,331 views and 12.90 lakh subscribers, U&V TV, with 14,40,03,291 views and10.20 lakh subscribers, and a channel called AM Razvi, which had 1,22,78,194 views and 95, 900 subscribers.
Other channels are Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal, with over seven lakh subscribers and almost 16 crore views, SeeTop5TH with over 24 crore views and 33.50 lakh subscribers, Sarkari Update with over 70 lakh views and 80,900 subscribers, Sab Kuch Dekho with over 32 crore views and 19.40 lakh subscribers and Pakistan based News ki Dunya which had 61,69,439 views and 97,000 subscribers.
The I&B Ministry in a statement said 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 on the blocked YouTube channels. Examples include fake news such as the Government of India to have ordered the demolition of religious structures; the Government of India to have banned the celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country.
The YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu, 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 I&B Ministry said.
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, the ministry said.
All the YouTube channels blocked by the Ministry 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 to ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwart any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order,” the I&B Ministry added.