New Delhi: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on Thursday (August 18, 2022) said that it has blocked eight YouTube channels, including seven from India and one from Pakistan, for “spreading disinformation” related to India’s national security, foreign relations, and public order. In an official statement, the Ministry said that it also issued orders on August 16, 2022, for blocking one Facebook account, and two Facebook posts.
YouTube channels spread hatred among religious communities in India
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting stated that the purpose of the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread “hatred” among religious communities in India.
“False claims were made in various videos of the blocked YouTube channels. Examples include fake news such as the Government of India to have ordered the demolition of religious structures; the Government of India to have banned the celebration of religious festivals, the declaration of religious war in India, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” it said.
The YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States, the Ministry informed.
“The content blocked by the Ministry was found to be detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, India’s friendly relations with foreign States, and public order in the country. Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” the official statement read.
YouTube channels that have been blocked
- Loktantra Tv (23,72,27,331 views, 12.90 lakh subscribers)
- U&V TV (14,40,03,291 views, 10.20 lakh subscribers)
- AM Razvi (1,22,78,194 views, 95,900 subscribers)
- Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal (15,99,32,594 views, 7 lakh subscribers)
- SeeTop5TH (24,83,64,997 views, 33.50 lakh subscribers)
- Sarkari Update (70,41,723 views, 80,900 subscribers)
- Sab Kuch Dekho (32,86,03,227 views, 19.40 lakh subscribers)
- Pakistan-based channel – News ki Dunya (61,69,439 views, 97,000 subscribers)
Blocked YouTube channels used fake thumbnails, images of news anchors
According to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the blocked Indian YouTube channels were using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.
“All the YouTube channels blocked by the Ministry were displaying advertisements on their videos having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations,” it said.
The Ministry also shared a few exemplars of the blocked contents:
Since December 2021, the Ministry has blocked as many as 102 YouTube channels and several other social media accounts.