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8 YouTube news channels blocked for fake, anti-India content: Govt

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New Delhi, Aug 18: Ministry of information and broadcasting blocked 8 YouTube channels for spreading disinformation related to India's national security, foreign relations, and public order.

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    Of the total news channels, seven are from India and one is based out of Pakistan. "Fake anti-India content was being monetised by the blocked channels," the ministry of information and broadcasting said in a statement.

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    Blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore views, and 85 lakh 73 thousand subscribers.

    The channels that were blocked under the Information Technology Rules-2021 include seven Indian news channels. The blocked YouTube channels made false claims such as demolition of religious structures by the Government of India, ban on celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, an official statement said.

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    Examples include fake news such as the Government of India to have ordered demolition of religious structures; Government of India to have banned celebration of religious festivals, declaration of religious war in India, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country.

    The YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India's friendly relations with foreign States.

    The content blocked by the Ministry was found to be detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, India's friendly relations with foreign States, and public order in the country. Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

    Modus Operandi

    The blocked Indian YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.

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    All the YouTube channels blocked by the Ministry were displaying advertisements on their videos having false content detrimental to communal harmony, public order and India's foreign relations.

    With this action, since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking of 102 YouTube based news channels and several other social media accounts. The Government of India remains committed towards ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwart any attempts at undermining India's sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order.

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