Govt blocks 8 YouTube channels citing spread of misinformation

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued orders to block eight YouTube channels due to spread of misinformation, according to a statement shared by Press Information Bureau.

The I&B Ministry exercised emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021. The accounts, which create news channel-like videos, have a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore, with a subscriber base of over 85 lakh.

While seven channels were based in India, one of them was based in Pakistan.

The government-run body also claimed the published content on some of these YouTube channels intended to spread hatred among religious communities in India.

“False claims were made in various videos of the blocked YouTube channels. 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,” according to the statement.

The Ministry found the blocked content to be detrimental to the sovereignty and security of the country, and could affect India’s friendly relations with foreign states. The content from the channels was covered under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

In 2020, the government banned multiple China-headquartered social media apps, including TikTok and WeChat, and also introduced new internet regulations in 2021.