Govt bans 8 YouTube channels, 1 FB account for spreading ‘hate’ | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Govt bans 8 YouTube channels, 1 FB account for spreading ‘hate’

ByDeeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi
Aug 19, 2022 12:24 AM IST

The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crores, and were subscribed by over 85 lakh users, the I&B ministry said

The Union ministry of information and broadcasting has blocked eight monetised YouTube channels and one Facebook account for “spreading hatred among religious communities in India”, the ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

For representational purposes only. (REUTERS Photo)
For representational purposes only. (REUTERS Photo)

The orders to take down the YouTube channels, seven of which are India-based and one Pakistan-based, were issued on Tuesday.

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“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 demolition of religious structures; government of India to have banned 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,” the statement said.

The blocked channels had a cumulative viewership of over 1.14 billion, and were subscribed by over 850,000 users, the ministry said.

“They were making money by spreading propaganda,” a person familiar with the development said, asking not to be named.

The takedown orders were issued under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, which empowers the government to pull down content that violates the integrity and sovereignty of the country.

The statement added that the channels were used to “post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian armed forces, Jammu & 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,” it said.

The ministry said 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”.

Since December 2021, the government has so far blocked 102 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media channels under Section 69(A) which authorised the government to takedown channels that endanger the sovereignty and integrity of India, or threaten public order.

In July, Union I&B minister, Anurag Thakur, had said the Centre blocked 94 YouTube channels, 19 social media accounts and 747 uniform resource locators (URLs) in 2021-22 for spreading fake news.

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