Govt asks YouTube to remove journalist-turned-politician’s news channel, cites IT Rules

Two other YouTube channels received similar notices from YouTube. None specified a reason for the takedown.

WrittenBy:NL Team
A picture of Shambhu Kumar Singh and I&B ministry's logo.

The central government has asked YouTube to remove digital news outlet National Dastak’s channel from the streaming portal under the amended IT Rules, the outlet said on Monday. National Dastak is owned and run by Shambhu Kumar Singh, a journalist turned politician who is contesting as an independent candidate from Bihar’s Vaishali in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

National Dastak tweeted saying it received a notice from YouTube on April 3 that did not cite a reason for the takedown. It also claimed that YouTube channel Article 19 had been sent a notice too. 

“The government wants to shut down National Dastak…All this is happening while the model code of conduct is in effect. Lakhs of newspapers and TV news channels are running. So much fear of Bahujan’s National Dastak,” the tweet said.

National Dastak describes itself as “online media” and a “strong voice of Dalits, Adivasis, backwards, women, farmers, minorities and those marginalised”. Its X account has been posting appeals to “support” Singh and fund his political campaign.  

Speaking to Newslaundry, Singh said, “I have been given no reason for this action. I would have mended it if I was told why such an action is being taken.”

He said it was an “effort to crush the voices of journalists who question the government and hold it accountable. Especially news portals like National Dastak, that voice for the most marginalised. These are the voices that don’t find space in the mainstream news.” 

The notice sent by YouTube said the takedown order came from the ministry of information and broadcasting under Rule 15 (2) of the amended IT Rules, 2021 and Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000.

Scroll reported that journalist Navin Kumar, who runs Article 19, said on April 4 that Facebook restricted the channel’s page. On the same day, another news portal, Bolta Hindustan’s channel was removed by YouTube after an order by the broadcasting ministry.  

Following the YouTube notice, several journalists and activists took to X to criticise the “horrifying” action and “unconstitutional bullying”.   

Newslaundry earlier reported that the Supreme Court stayed the amended IT Rules which allows the government to identify “fake news” about itself on social media and order its take down. 

The amendments have been widely criticised by press groups, opposition leaders and journalists. Newslaundry has reported on length on the controversies surrounding the amendment and why it’s a blow for press freedom. Read about it here.

To know how the amended IT Rules translate to “greater opacity” in surveillance and impact RTI, read here.

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article image‘Impact on free speech to be analysed’: SC stays govt’s fact check unit notified under IT Rules
article image‘Error, look into facts’: SC sets aside Delhi HC’s takedown order to Bloomberg on Zee report


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