22 YouTube channels have been deactivated due to ‘anti-India’ content
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has shut down 22 YouTube channels for allegedly spreading false information about India’s national security and foreign policy. 18 Indian YouTube news channels, as well as four Pakistan-based YouTube news channels, have been blocked for the first time under the IT Rules, 2021.
According to a ministry order issued on Monday, these YouTube channels misled viewers by using TV news channel logos and false thumbnails. Three Twitter accounts, one Facebook account, and one news website were also shut down.
“These channels were involved in disseminating false information that harmed India’s sovereignty, national security, and international relations.” They were disseminating false information about the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. On Tuesday, Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said, “We will not hesitate to take such action in the future.”
“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued orders on 04.04.2022 for the blocking of twenty-two (22) YouTube-based news channels, three (3) Twitter accounts, one (1) Facebook account, and one (1) news website, utilising the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021.”The blocked YouTube channels “were used to spread fake news and coordinated disinformation over social media on subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order,” the ministry said in a statement.
ARP News had 4.4 crore subscribers, followed by AOP News with 74 lakh subscribers, and LDC News with 4.7 lakh subscribers, among the blocked channels in India.
‘Duniya Mery Aagy’ had 4.2 lakh subscribers and over 11.2 crore views, ‘Ghulam Nabi Madni’ had over 37.09 lakh views, and ‘HAQEEQAT TV’ had over 40 lakh subscribers, according to the blocked Pakistani YouTube channels.
The government has blocked all Pakistan-based Twitter accounts associated with the same YouTube channels that have been blocked, including ‘Ghulam Nabi Madni’, which has 5,553 followers, ‘Dunya Mery Aagy,’ which has 4,063 followers (the channel’s Facebook page has also been banned), and ‘Haqeeqat TV,’ which has 3,23,800 followers.
On national security grounds, the I&B Ministry has issued orders to block 78 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts since December 2021.
“The blocked Indian YouTube channels used templates and logos from certain TV news channels, as well as images of their news anchors, to deceive viewers into believing that the news was genuine.” To increase the virality of content on social media, false thumbnails were used, and the title and thumbnail of the videos were frequently changed. The ministry also stated that “in some cases, systematic anti-India fake news was originating from Pakistan.”
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