Indian govt bans 35 YouTube channels, 2 websites for running ‘anti-India’ propaganda

WION Web Team
New Delhi Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 08:07 PM(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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These websites and YouTube channels were being operated from Pakistan, the Information and Broadcasting ministry said on Friday.

The Indian government has ordered to block 35 YouTube channels and two websites that were said to be running “anti-India propaganda” and spreading fake news “in a coordinated manner”.

These websites and YouTube channels were being operated from Pakistan, the Information and Broadcasting ministry said on Friday.

These websites and channels had a total of 120 million subscribers and were running fake news on former Chief of Defence Staff Late General Bipin Rawat, the ministry stated.

The order was issued on Thursday.

“The YouTube channels, websites, and other social media accounts blocked by the Ministry were used by Pakistan for spreading anti-India fake news about sensitive subjects related to India,” it said in a statement.

“These include topics such as the Indian Army, Jammu and Kashmir, and India’s foreign relations with other countries. It was observed that rampant fake news was spread through the YouTube channels regarding the demise of the former Chief of Defence Staff Late General Bipin Rawat. These YouTube channels had also started posting content to undermine the democratic process of the upcoming elections in five states,” it said.

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

The Indian intelligence agencies were closely monitoring these social media accounts and websites and flagged them to the ministry for immediate action, he added.

"Vide five separate orders issued under rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the Ministry has ordered to block these Pakistan-based social media accounts and websites," the ministry said in a statement later.

Among the channels that were ordered to be blocked include Apni Duniya Network, which was operating 14 YouTube channels, and Talha Films Network operating 13 YouTube channels.

A set of four channels, and a set of two other channels were also found to be acting in synchronization with each other.

“All these networks appeared to be operated with a single goal of spreading fake news oriented towards the Indian audience. The channels which were part of a network used common hashtags and editing styles, were being operated by common persons, and cross promoted each other’s content. Some of the YouTube channels were being operated by anchors of Pakistani TV news channels,” the ministry said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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