I&B Ministry Blocks 22 YouTube Channels, 1 Facebook And 3 Twitter Accounts For Spreading ‘Misinformation’ About India
The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry on Tuesday blocked 22 YouTube channels for spreading misinformation about India. The ministry said that the blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 260 crores and were used to spread fake news.
The 22 channels were used for spreading misinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations, and public order. Reportedly, four channels were operating from Pakistan. The I&B ministry also blocked 3 Twitter accounts, 1 Facebook account, and 1 news website.
Reportedly, this is the first time that an action has been taken on the Indian YouTube-based news publishers since the notification of the IT Rules, 2021 in February. The I&B Ministry published a statement on this matter. It said, “Utilising the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, has issued orders on 04.04.2022 for blocking of 22 YouTube-based news channels, 3 Twitter Accounts, 1 Facebook account, and 1 news website.”
Those YouTube channels were used to post fake news about the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu & Kashmir. Some channels posted anti-India content from multiple social media accounts. Reportedly, a significant amount of false content published by these Indian YouTube-based channels was also related to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The posts aimed at jeopardising India’s foreign relations with other countries.
Reportedly, they were also using templates and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic. They also used false thumbnails and titles for their YouTube videos.
In February, the government blocked apps, websites, and social media accounts of foreign-based ‘Punjab Politics TV’ alleging its close links with the banned pro-Khalistan outfit ‘Sikhs For Justice’ (SFJ). The ministry said in a statement that the channel was using online media to disturb public order during the Punjab legislative assembly elections.