New Delhi: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Thursday banned eight YouTube channels – seven Indian and one Pakistani – for “spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order”.
The channels were blocked under the 2021 IT rules.
The ministry estimated the combined viewership of the eight channels at 114 crore, and they had nearly 87 lakh subscribers.
The ministry said in a statement: “The purpose of the content posted by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India. False claims have been made in various videos…”
The statement adds, “Examples include fake news such as the Indian government ordering the demolition of religious structures…banning the celebration of religious holidays, declaring religious war in India…Such content has been found to have the potential to create community discord. and disturb public order in the country.
“YouTube channels have also been used to post fake news on various topics like Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir etc. The content has been observed as completely false and sensitive from national security perspective and India’s friendly relations with foreign states,” the statement read.
The ministry said “fake anti-Indian content” was monetized by these channels.
On the “modus operandi”, the channels are accused of using “false and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead viewers into believing that the news were authentic”.
The banned channels in India were SeeTop5TH (33.5 lakh subscribers), Sab Kuch Dekho (19.4 lakh subscribers), Loktantra TV (12.9 lakh subscribers), U&V TV (10.2 lakh subscribers), Gauravshali Pawan Mithilanchal ( 7 lakh subscribers), AM Razvi (95,900 subscribers) and Sarkari Update (80,900 subscribers).
Pakistan’s is News ki Dunya with 6,169,439 views and 97,000 subscribers.
Loktantra TV’s Facebook account was also banned and had 362,495 followers.
Since December 2021, the ministry has blocked 102 news channels based on YouTube and several other social media accounts.
The statement said the government “remains committed to ensuring an authentic, trustworthy and safe online media environment, and to thwarting any attempt to undermine sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations and the ‘law and order of India’.
Read also : Center blocks 8 YouTube channels for spreading misinformation under IT rules, 2021