Weeks after 20 YouTube channels and two websites were blocked for allegedly spreading “anti-India propaganda” and fake news, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said the government will continue to crack down on those “hatching conspiracy” against the country, the Indian Express
“I had ordered for action against them.… I am happy that many big countries across the world took cognisance of it. YouTube also came forward and took action to block them…And in future also, action will be taken to block any such account hatching conspiracy against India, spreading lies and dividing the society,” Thakur told reporters on Wednesday.
The I&B ministry and intelligence agencies had ordered the blocking of these YouTube channels and the two websites in December last year. A statement issued by the ministry had said these channels and websites belonged to a “coordinated disinformation network” operating from Pakistan and were spreading fake news about sensitive subjects related to India, the Indian Express had
According to the report, the ministry had said that the channels carried content on topics such as Kashmir, the Indian Army, Ram Mandir, late chief of defence staff Bipin Rawat, farmer protests and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and accused them of inciting minorities.
The ministry had invoked emergency powers under rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 while passing the order to block the channels and the websites. According to the ministry, at the time, the YouTube channels had a combined subscriber base of over 35 lakh, and their videos had over 55 crore views.