The government on Monday blocked 16 YouTube channels, including six which it said were operating from Pakistan, and a Facebook account, for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order, according to an official statement.
The blocked YouTube channels and the Facebook account had a cumulative viewership of over 68 crore and were spreading “false, unverified information to create panic, incite communal disharmony and disturb public order in India”, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry statement said.
“None of the digital news publishers had furnished information to the ministry as required under Rule 18 of the IT Rules, 2021,” it said.
The content referred to a community as terrorists and “false claims” about a pan-India lockdown due to Covid threatening migrant workers.
This comes over three weeks after the I&B ministry blocked 22 YouTube channels for “spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order”, according to apress release. According to the ministry, the combined viewership of these channels was over 260 crore.
Of the 22 channels, 18 were Indian news channels while four were Pakistan-based – including 'DuniyaMeryAagy', 'Ghulam NabiMadni', 'HAQEEQAT TV' and 'HAQEEQAT TV 2.0'. They have been blocked using emergency powers under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
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