‘Fake anti-India content’: 8 YouTube news channels with 114 cr viewership banned

‘Fake anti-India content’: 8 YouTube news channels with 114 cr viewership banned

In a statement, the government said 7 Indian and 1 Pakistan- based YouTube news channels were blocked under IT Rules, 2021.

The ministry of information and broadcasting has blocked eight YouTube channels and a Facebook account for “spreading disinformation” about “India’s national security, foreign relations and public order”, according to a statement issued on Thursday. The ministry said that “fake anti-India content was being monetised by the blocked channels on YouTube”.

The YouTube channels, including one based in Pakistan, had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore and nearly 85,73,000 subscriptions, the ministry said. These include Loktantra Tv with 12.90 lakh subscribers, U&V TV with 10.20 lakh, AM Razvi with 95,900, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal with 7 lakh, SeeTop5TH with 33.50 lakh, Sarkari Update with 80,900 and Sab Kuch Dekho followed by 19.40 lakh subscriptions. The Pakistan-based channel News ki Dunya had 97,000 subscribers, the ministry said.

These channels and the Facebook account of Loktantra Tv were blocked through emergency powers under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the ministry said.

This comes a month after I&B minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha that the government has blocked 78 news channels and 560 URLs on YouTube since last year.

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The government also listed a few examples of fake content published by each of these channels in its latest statement. It mentioned that Loktantra Tv put out videos titled “Modi bans Bakra Eid celebrations” and another on religious war in India. It included a U&V TV video thumbnail which said “Modi charged with treason, cabinet in trouble”.

The statement mentioned three videos published by AM Razvi, with the thumbnails alleging a “stir at Ajmer dargah”, an “Islamist flag put up on a temple” and saffron-clad men attacking the Ajmer shrine.

The ministry said, “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…fake news such as the government of India…ordered demolition of religious structures…banned celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war…content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country.”

The statement claimed that these channels posted “fake news” on subjects such as the armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir. “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.”

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