New Delhi: The Information and Broadcasting ministry issued fresh directions to block 16 YouTube-based news channels, out of which six of them were operating from Pakistan, and one Facebook account for spreading fake news relating to matters of the country’s national security, foreign relations, communal harmony and public order.
The blocked accounts include 10 YouTube news channels from India and six from Pakistan, with a total viewership of 68 crores.
The ministry said, “None of the digital news publishers had furnished information to the ministry as required under Rule 18 of the IT Rules, 2021.”
The government also found several Indian-based YouTube channels were publishing unverified news and videos that had the potential to trigger panic among various sections of society.
The ministry cited instances of false claims related to the announcement of a pan-India lockdown due to COVID-19. The channels were also fabricating claims regarding an alleged threat to certain communities.
As for the channels from Pakistan, the statement said, “YouTube channels based in Pakistan were found to have been used in a coordinated manner to post fake news about India on various subjects such as the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir, and India’s foreign relations in the light of the situation in Ukraine, etc.” This content was found to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security, the sovereignty and integrity of India, and India’s friendly relations with foreign states.”
This is the second instance of the ministry’s initiation action against Indian YouTube-based news publishers since the notification of the IT Rules, 2021, in February last year.
The YouTube channels blocked by the Ministry of India include: Saini Education Research, Hindi Mein Dekho, Technical Yogendra, Aaj Te News, SBB News, Defence News24x7, The Study Time, Latest Update, MRF TV LIVE, and Tahaffuz-E-DeenIndia.
The channels blocked from Pakistan include AjTak Pakistan, Discover Point, Reality Checks, Kaiser Khan, The Voice of Asia, Bol Media Bol.