Access to YouTube channels of news portals blocked on varsity WiFi, say JNU students
A section of students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, including the students union, have alleged that they are unable to access any news portal’s YouTube channel, other than that of Zee News, over the university WiFi, a claim denied by the university officials.
“Access has been blocked to news sites of NDTV, The Wire, etc. We are redirected to a page that says we are trying to access “adult content.” We cannot even access YouTube videos of previous presidential debates at JNU. This has been going on since Friday,” said Geeta Kumari, the president of the JNU Students’ Union.
The Rector-III, RP Singh, however, said that “there is no change in the URL filtering policy of JNU.”
The students alleged that they cannot access any videos relating to JNU student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and politicians Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamta Bannerjee. Other members of opposition parties “are showing no results”.
“Along with several other news portals, the AISA (All India Students’ Association) YouTube Channel has also been blocked by the JNU administration through JNU’s WiFi,” said Sucheta De, the national president of AISA.
Videos allegedly recorded on campus, showing how access to various YouTube channels have been blocked on the WiFi, show that students get a message saying, “some results have been removed because Restricted Mode is enabled by your network administrator,” when they search for things such as “Una incident”.
Searches for “The Wire Hindi” and certain other news portals do not show their YouTube Channels in the results, according to the video.
“Ironically, the search for Narendra Modi is showing almost all videos available in the search list. This latest attempt by JNU administration to censor and restrict access is a dangerous trend. We immediately ask the administration to clear the reasons for such censoring AIB, Viral videos and others too have been blocked,” reads a statement released by AISA.
The JNU Teachers’ Association president, Ayesha Kidwai, said she had also heard “valid” claims from students about the censorship, but was not aware if it extended to teachers as she had not attempted to access the sites on the university WiFi on Saturday.