March 30, 2023

Block 35 more Pakistan-based YouTube channels: Information and Broadcasting ministry | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The Union ministry of Information and Broadcasting said on Friday it has issued orders to block 35 more YouTube channels, two websites, Twitter and Instagram accounts each, and one Facebook account, all originating in Pakistan, for spreading anti-India content in a “coordinated manner over digital media”.
The fake, anti-India content contained references to Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir, India’s foreign relations with other countries, including fake information about the demise of former Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and content seeking to undermine the elections in five poll-bound states. The I&B ministry said the channels also propagated toxic, separatist content, which have “the potential to incite its audience into commission of crimes adversely affecting public order in India”.
The January 20 order comes exactly one month after the ministry invoked, for the first time, the emergency clause of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, to block 20 YouTube channels and two websites on December 20, last year. Union I&B secretary Apurva Chandra referred to the pernicious content as a “war of misinformation against India” and said the blocking orders followed fresh intelligence inputs about YouTube accounts operating from Pakistan.
Some of the YouTube channels, Chandra said, have a total subscriber base of over 1.2 crore and the anti-India content they have disseminated had over 130 crore views.
He said orders to block the social media accounts and websites were issued after Indian intelligence agencies, which were closely monitoring these accounts and websites flagged them to the I&B ministry for immediate action.
“While the ministry is alive to finding and blocking such kind of content, we also call upon people to flag such content when they see it. It is also the responsibility of intermediaries to create systems where such kind of fake and toxic content is automatically flagged,” Chandra said.
In December, when the ministry ordered the blocking of 20 YouTube channels, YouTube had responded by blocking them not just in India, but also globally, within 24 hours of the ministry flagging the content.
As per the IT Rules, the ministry’s interim orders to DoT, YouTube and the social media platforms will have to be ratified at a meeting of the Inter-Departmental Government Committee (IGC) within 48 hours. This, joint secretary Vikram Sahay said, is likely early next week

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