Centre Blocks 20 YouTube Channels, 2 Websites for 'Anti-India' Content
As per the I&B Ministry, the channels belonged to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan.
In a first, the Union government pulled down a total of 20 YouTube channels and two websites on Monday, 21 December, after invoking emergency powers under the intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code in the new Information Technology (IT) Act.
As per the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the channels belonged to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan.
"The channels and websites belong to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan and spreading fake news about various sensitive subjects related to India. The channels were used to post divisive content in a coordinated manner on topics like Kashmir, Indian Army, minority communities in India, Ram Mandir, General Bipin Rawat, etc."Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
"The modus operandi of the anti-India disinformation campaign involved The Naya Pakistan Group (NPG), operating from Pakistan, having a network of YouTube channels, and some other standalone YouTube channels not related to NPG. The channels had a combined subscriber base of over 35 lakh, and their videos had over 55 crore views," as per the I&B ministry.
These YouTube channels had also posted content on issues such as the farmers’ protest, protests related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and had tried to incite the minorities against the Government of India, said the ministry in a press release.
It was also feared by the government that these YouTube channels would be used to post content to undermine the democratic process of the upcoming elections in five states.
The ban on the contentious websites and YouTube channels comes after a coordinated effort between the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and intelligence agencies.
YouTube Channels That Have Been Blocked
A YouTube channel named ‘Naya Pakistan Global,’ which had 7 lakh subscribers and over 9 crore views, was spreading misinformation about the Babri Masjid controversy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and late Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Rawat, as per the government.
Another channel, titled 'Punjab Viral,' has been taken down over a number of contentious videos, including two titled 'The Khalistan Movement became a nightmare for Modi' and 'The Sikhs Hoist Flag over Indian Parliament.' The channel had over 14 lakh views.
Other YouTube channels that have been blocked include The Punch Line, InternationalWeb News, Khalsa TV, The Naked Truth, 48 News, Fictional, Historical Facts, Cover Story, Go Global, eCommerce, Junaid Haleem Official, Tayyab Hanif, Zain Ali Official, Mohsin Rajput, Official, Kaneez Fatima, Sadaf Durrani, Mian Imran, Ahmad, Najam Ul Hassan, Bajwa, and News24.
In February this year, Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad had announced drastic changes in the new legal rules for social media companies and a code of ethics for OTT (over the top) streaming platforms as well as digital news media.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.