The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) on Monday, 25 April, blocked 16 YouTube news channels – 10 Indian and six Pakistan-based – for allegedly spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order.
The Government of India said in a statement that the YouTube channels were spreading “false, unverified information to create panic, incite communal disharmony and disturb public order” in India.
The blocked YouTube-based news channels had a total viewership of over 68 crore, it said.
Govt Cites National Security, Public Order
This is not the first time that the government has blocked YouTube channels in the country citing national security reasons.
Earlier this month, I&B blocked 22 YouTube news channels, 3 Twitter accounts, 1 Facebook account, and a news website for spreading fake news and disinformation on "subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India's foreign relations, and public order".
A statement from the I&B Ministry read,
“The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 260 crore, and were used to spread fake news, and coordinated disinformation over social media on subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India's foreign relations, and public order."
Since December 2021, the ministry has issued directions for blocking of over 78 YouTube channels and several other social media accounts on grounds related to national security, sovereignty, and integrity of India, public order, etc.