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78 YouTube news channels, 560 links blocked in 2021-2022 by MIB : Centre

Seventy-eight YouTube-based news channels and 560 YouTube links were blocked for public access between 2021 and 2022 over violation of section 69A of Information Technology (IT) Act, Union information and broadcasting (I&B) minister Anurag Thakur informed Lok Sabha on Tuesday.

Thakur made the disclosure in a written response to questions by Congress MP Manickan Tagore.

“The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued directions for blocking 78 YouTube based news channels and their social media accounts for public access during 2021 and 2022 for violation of Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) has blocked 560 YouTube URLs during the years 2021 and 2022,” Thakur said.

The minister also said that section 69A of the IT Act empowers the Centre to issue directions to any government agency or an intermediary to block content 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 cognizable offence relating to such matters.

In his list of questions, Tagore asked “whether it is a fact that the Government had blocked many YouTube channels in the country” and sought details and reasons behind such a move, if true.

The Congress lawmaker also asked “whether spreading false and unverified information were the reasons for the blocking of the said channels”.

The I&B ministry has, from time to time, issued orders to take down YouTube channels for spreading misinformation and threatening the country’s sovereignty under the new IT rules incorporated on February 25 last year.

On December 21 last year, the government said 20 YouTube channels were blocked under emergency provisions of the rules.

In January this year, the Centre blocked 35 Pakistan-based YouTube channels and two websites for “spreading anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media”.

Likewise, in April, 22 YouTube channels were blocked for spreading misinformation and threatening the country’s sovereignty. Hindustan Times

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