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Ministry of I&B blocks 22 YouTube channels for spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order

New Delhi: 5/4/22:The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, utilizing the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, has issued orders on 04.04.2022 for blocking twenty-two (22) YouTube-based news channels, three (3) Twitter accounts, one (1) Facebook account, and one (1) news website. The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 260 crore, and were used to spread fake news, and coordinated disinformation over social media on subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order.

Action on Indian YouTube-based news channels

This is the first time action has been taken against the Indian YouTube-based news publishers since the notification of the IT Rules, 2021 in February last year. Through the recent blocking order, eighteen (18) Indian and four (4) Pakistan-based YouTube news channels have been blocked.

Analysis of Content

Multiple YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content ordered to be blocked also included certain anti-India content posted from multiple social media accounts operated in a coordinated manner from Pakistan.

It was observed that a significant amount of false content published by these Indian YouTube-based channels related to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, and aimed at jeopardizing India’s foreign relations with other countries.

Modus Operandi

The blocked Indian YouTube channels were using templates and logos of certain TV news channels, including images of their news anchors to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic. False thumbnails were used; and the title and thumbnail of the videos were frequently altered to increase the virality of content on social media. In certain cases, it was also observed that systematic anti-India fake news was originating from Pakistan.

With this action, since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking 78 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts on grounds related to national security, sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, etc.

The Government of India remains committed towards ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwarting any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.
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