Government blocks 8 YouTube channels with over 85 lakh subscribers for ‘fake anti-Indian content’

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has blocked eight YouTube channels and a Facebook account for “spreading misinformation” about “India’s national security, external relations and public order”, according to a statement released on Thursday. . The ministry said “fake anti-Indian content was monetized by blocked channels on YouTube.”

The YouTube channels, including one based in Pakistan, had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crores and nearly 85,73,000 subscriptions, the ministry said. These include Loktantra Tv with 12.90 lakh subscribers, U&V TV with 10.20 lakh, AM Razvi with 95,900, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal with 7 lakh, SeeTop5TH with 33.50 lakh, Sarkari Update with 80,900 and Sab Kuch Dekho followed by 19.40 lakh followers. Pakistani channel News ki Dunya had 97,000 subscribers, the ministry said.

These channels and Loktantra TV’s Facebook account have been blocked by emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules 2021 (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Ethics), the ministry said. .

It comes a month after I&B Minister Anurag Thakur told the Lok Sabha that the government had 560 URLs on YouTube since last year.

The government also listed some examples of fake content published by each of these channels in its latest statement. He mentioned that Loktantra Tv aired videos titled “Modi bans Bakra Eid celebrations” and another on religious war in India. It included a U&V TV video vignette that read “Modi charged with treason, cabinet in trouble”.

The statement mentioned three videos posted by AM Razvi, with the thumbnails alleging a “commotion at Ajmer’s dargah”, an “Islamist flag hoisted over a temple” and saffron-clad men attacking Ajmer’s shrine.

The ministry said, “The purpose of the content posted by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India. False statements were made in various videos… fake news such as the government of India… the orderly demolition of religious structures… the prohibited celebration of religious festivals, the declaration of religious war… the content was found to have the potential to create communal discord and disrupt public order in the country.”

The statement claimed that these channels broadcast “fake news” on topics such as the armed forces and Jammu and Kashmir. “The content blocked by the ministry has proven to be detrimental to India’s sovereignty and integrity, state security, India’s friendly relations with foreign states and public order. in the country. Accordingly, the content was covered by Section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2000. »

Raymond T. Helms