20 YouTube channels, two websites taken down under IT Act for ‘anti-India’ propaganda: Report

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Dec 22, 2021, 12:15 AM IST

These websites and channels had a total of 2.6 billion subscribers and were running fake news against India. Photograph:(Reuters)

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The contents were “blasphemous” in nature and were being funded by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence

Invoking for the first time the recently notified intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code under the Information and Technology (IT) Act, 20 YouTube channels and two websites were banned by the Indian government for allegedly running ‘anti-India’ propaganda from Pakistan, according to reports.

According to Economic Times (ET) newspaper, which cited sources, Information and Broadcasting (I&B) secretary Apurva Chandra wrote to YouTube and the Department of Telecom, directing them to immediately block the content which impinges the sovereignty and integrity of India.

According to the reports, the contents were “blasphemous” in nature and were being funded by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Watch | Gravitas: India dismantles Pak's fake news network

It was first flagged by the Indian security agencies, following which the I&B ministry conducted an inquiry.

Among the sites that were taken down include ‘Naya Pakistan’, which had over two million subscribers on YouTube. It was reportedly running “false news” on issues such as Kashmir, farmers’ protests against the farm laws and Ayodhya.

Another portal that was banned is ‘Naya Pakistan Group’, which ran over 15 channels on YouTube and had a following of more than a million subscribers.

According to the reports, the channel ran contents like ‘PM Modi concedes defeat in Kashmir; Article 370 restored’, ‘Taliban Army leaves Kabul for India’, ‘Taiyyap Erdogan sends 35,000 mercenaries for Kashmir’, and the ‘Turk Army enters Ayodhya Ram Mandir to Take revenge’— all of which were seen by the ministry as a “concerted effort to sow unrest in India”. 

Under section 16 of the IT Rules, the I&B ministry can block content that is considered “necessary or expedient and justifiable to block”.

Officials said the decision to ban and block these channels and websites will be presented before the Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC) within 48 hours, following which it will be ratified by a committee under the IT Rules, 2021, ET reported.

(With inputs from agencies)