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.
“The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crores, were subscribed by over 85 lakh users,” it said.
YouTube channels spread hatred among religious communities in India
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said 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; Government of India to have banned the celebration of religious festivals, 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.
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.
Since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking as many as 102 YouTube channels and several other social media accounts.