For spreading false information about the nation, the Centre on Thursday shut eight YouTube channels—seven Indian and one Pakistani—one Facebook account, and two Facebook postings.
According to a statement from the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the blocked stations had a combined audience of more than 114 crore and more than 85 lakh subscribers.
Aside from News ki Dunya, which has 97,000 subscribers and is based in Pakistan, other blocked YouTube channels include Loktantra Tv (12.90 lakh subscribers), U&V TV (10.20 lakh subscribers), AM Razvi (95,900 subscribers), Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal (7 lakh subscribers), Sarkari Update (80,900 subscribers), and Sab Kuch Dekho (19.40 lakh subscribers). All of these channels are based in India.
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The Ministry claims that the intent of some of these YouTube channels’ content was to sow division among India’s many religious communities. “Various videos from the restricted YouTube channels contained false statements.
Spreading false information about the government directing the destruction of religious structures, forbidding the celebration of religious holidays, and declaring religious war in India are a few examples, the statement stated.
“Such content was considered to have the potential to cause intercommunal strife and damage public order in the country,” the statement continued. “According to the Ministry, who used the emergency powers provided under the IT Rules, 2021, directives were given on August 16 to block the content.
The statement added that fake news was also frequently posted on YouTube about topics including the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu & Kashmir, and that the content was found to be wholly false and sensitive in terms of national security and India’s good relations with other countries.
As a result, the information was covered by section 69A of the Information Technology Act of 2000. According to the Ministry, phoney and sensational thumbnails, photos of news anchors, and logos of specific TV news programmes were used by the restricted Indian YouTube channels to trick viewers into thinking the content was real.
All of the YouTube channels that the Ministry blocked were showing misleading advertisements on their videos that were harmful to public order, communal peace, and India’s international ties.
The Ministry has given directives for the shutdown of 102 YouTube news channels as well as a number of other social media accounts since December 2021.