Amid rising number of cases for allegedly using ‘fake-and-anti-India’ content and propagating false information across the country, the central government on Thursday, August 18th, 2022 ordered blocking of at least eight YouTube channels including one from the neighbouring Pakistan.
According to sources, the channels were blocked as per the guidelines specified under the newly-revised Information Technology Act, 2021. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) released the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 earlier this February. Social Media intermediaries were given a three-month period to comply with the new rules.
The blocked YouTube channels included are Loktantra TV, U&V TV, A M Razvi, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal, SeeTop5TH, Sarkari Update, Sab kuch Dekho and Pakistan-based News ki Duniya.
According to a statement released by the Information & Broadcasting ministry, “The Indian YouTube channels were observed to be ‘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.”
“They also made false claims such as the demolition of religious structures by the government, ban on the celebration of religious festivals, and declaration of religious war in India,” the statement stated.
In its released statement, the ministry had stressed on the fact that such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country.
The content produced on all these channels was pulled within the ambit of section 69A of IT Act, 2000.
As of now, nearly 102 channels on YouTube have been blocked by the government and many other social media accounts have been deterred.