Govt blocks 16 YouTube news channels for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security
New Delhi, April 25, 2022
Utilizing the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, vide two separate orders on April 22, has issued directions for blocking of 16 YouTube-based news channels and one Facebook account.
The blocked accounts include six Pakistan-based and ten India-based YouTube news channels, having a cumulative viewership of over 68 crore, a press release from the Ministry said.
"It was observed that these channels were used to spread fake news over social media on matters related to national security, India’s foreign relations, communal harmony in the country, and public order. None of the digital news publishers had furnished information to the Ministry as required under rule 18 of the IT Rules, 2021," it said.
"The content published by some of the India based YouTube channels referred to a community as terrorists, and incited hatred among the members of various religious communities. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony, and disturb public order.
"Multiple India-based YouTube channels were observed to publish unverified news and videos having the potential to create panic among various sections of the society. Examples include false claims related to announcement of a pan-India lockdown due to COVID-19 thereby threatening the migrant workers, and fabricated claims alleging threats to certain religious communities, etc. Such content was observed to be detrimental to public order in the country," the release said.
According to it, the 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 situation in Ukraine, and so on.
"The content of these channels was observed to be completely false, and sensitive from the perspective of national security, sovereignty and integrity of India, and India’s friendly relations with foreign States," it said.
On April 23, the Ministry had also advised private TV news channels against making false claims and using scandalous headlines.
"Government of India remains committed to ensure a safe and secure information environment in India across print, television and online media," the release added.