1,276 fact-checks by PIB unit, action against 635 URLs of 120 YouTube news channels: I&B ministry

The union minister furnished this data in response to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Press Information Bureau’s fact-check unit has carried out 1,276 fact-checks since it was set up in November 2019, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. 

Thakur also said that the government has acted against 635 URLs belonging to 120 YouTube news channels since December 2021.

Giving year-wise data in response to an unstarred question by YSR Congress MP S Niranjan Reddy, Thakur said the PIB unit carried out 19 fact checks in 2019, 394 in 2020, 285 in 2021, 338 in 2022, and 240 until July 17 this year.

“Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has, since December, 2021, issued directions for blocking from public access of 635 URLs, including 120 YouTube based news channels under the provisions of Part-III of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rule, 2021 in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to the above, including fake news, in accordance with the provisions of Section 69 A of Information Technology Act, 2000.”

Reddy had also asked whether the government plans to direct online fact-checking platforms to obtain registration from the government to seek greater accountability.

“The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 does not require registration of any publisher of news and current affairs on digital media, including those news publishers undertaking fact checking; only information under rule 18 needs to be furnished,” the minister replied.

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