- Eight YouTube channels blocked for spreading disinformation against India
- The blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore views
- Channels that were blocked under IT Rules-2021 include seven Indian news channels
The government of India on Thursday ordered the blocking of eight YouTube channels, including one operating from Pakistan, for allegedly spreading disinformation related to India's national security, foreign relations and public order. The blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore views, and 85.73 lakh subscribers and the content was being monetised.
The channels that were blocked under the Information Technology Rules-2021 include seven Indian news channels. The blocked YouTube channels made false claims such as the demolition of religious structures by the Government of India, ban on the celebration of religious festivals, and declaration of religious war in India.
The government issued an official statment and said, "Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country." "The YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir," it said.
"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 statement said.
The content blocked by the government 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 blocked 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. All the YouTube channels blocked by the government were displaying advertisements on their videos having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India’s foreign relations.
With this action, since December 2021, the government of India has issued directions for blocking of 102 YouTube based news channels and several other social media accounts. "The Government of India remains committed towards ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwart any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order," the statement added.