Government orders 20 YouTube channels and 2 websites blocked for “anti-Indian propaganda”

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The government announced on Tuesday that it had ordered the blocking of 20 YouTube channels and two websites disseminating “anti-Indian propaganda” and false information.

“The channels and websites belong to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan and disseminating false information on various sensitive topics related to India,” said a statement released by the Ministry of Information and Justice. broadcasting.

According to the statement, the I&B ministry issued two separate orders ordering YouTube and the Telecom ministry to block accounts and websites. The orders were the result of “closely coordinated efforts” between intelligence agencies and the I&B ministry, he said.

The ministry said the channels mainly broadcast content on topics such as Kashmir, Indian Army, Ram Mandir, the late Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat, protests against farm laws which have now been repealed and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and attempted to incite minorities to oppose the Indian government.

I&B Minister Anurag Thakur, in a video tweeted by the Press Information Bureau, said: “We have taken action against cross-border activities aimed at sowing unrest in India by spreading fake news and propaganda. YouTube channels and web portals violated national laws and strong action was taken against them. “

The ministry issued orders using emergency powers under Rule 16 of the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media). 55 crores of views.

The government has said it believes YouTube channels will be used to broadcast content aimed at “undermining the democratic process of the upcoming elections in five states.”

Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur are due to hold elections early next year.

On Tuesday, YouTube accounts were found blocked with the accompanying message: “This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government.”

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