The Government of India on Friday banned 35 YouTube channels and multiple social media accounts for spreading “fake news”. Similar action was initiated by the ministry in December of last year when 20 YouTube channels were blocked for airing ‘anti-India’ content.
Conveying the government’s decision, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra said during a press conference that content posted by these YouTube channels and accounts had nearly 130 crore views.
“These accounts were based out of Pakistan. They were propagating fake news, and unleashing a fake news war against India,” the Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting ministry said.
Joint Secretary in the I&B Ministry, Vikram Sahay, said action has been initiated against these YouTube channels and social media accounts as per the IT Rules.
“We have banned 35 YouTube channels, two Twitter handles, two Instagram handles, two websites and one Facebook account,” Sahay said.
He added that these channels and social media handles were being used to promote “anti-India” propaganda.
The official revealed that these mediums were also being used to mislead the public using “fake news”.
Information was received from intelligence agencies and action was taken immediately in this regard, Sahay said, adding that social media intermediaries should also take note of such content.
“The popularity of the channels is visible through the fact that they had a total of 1.2 crore subscribers and over 130 crore views. Of course, it [blocking] is a very difficult task but the ministry is trying its best to ensure that anti-India content can be curtailed,” Joint Secretary Vikram Sahay said.
“The 35 accounts blocked by the Ministry were all operating from Pakistan, and were identified to be part of four coordinated disinformation networks,” the I&B Ministry added in a written statement.
YouTube channels blocked by the I&B Ministry include “Khabar with Facts”, “Global Truth”, “Information Hub”, “Apni Dunya TV” and “Bol Media TV”, among others.
The two websites blocked by the ministry have been identified as “whiteproductions.com.pk” and “dnowmedia.com”.
“We wrote to the social media intermediaries yesterday, and they sought time of 24 hours, and by now almost all accounts have already been blocked,” I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra told India Today. India Today