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India’s I&B ministry blocks eight YouTube channels for ‘spreading fake news’

Eight YouTube channels with over 85 lakh subscribers have been blocked by MIB in India, citing ‘fake news’ and ‘promoting enmity’

As many as eight news channels on YouTube have been blocked on August 16, 2022, by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, according to a press release put out by the Union government. The blocked YouTube channels had a cumulative viewership of over 114 crore, and were subscribed by over 85 lakh users, the release added. Why it matters: The government has now blocked a total of 102 accounts since December 2021 by invoking the IT Rules, 2021. It is important to make a note of these orders as it is one of the rare occasions where the government has offered reasons behind its blocking orders. Why were they blocked: The ministry alleged that some of these channels were responsible for spreading “hatred among religious communities in India”. It said that the content was covered within the ambit of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. “The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States,” read the release. The ministry explained that false claims were made in various videos uploaded by these now-blocked channels. They added that the content had the potential to foment communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country. The examples of fake news on these channels include: The Indian government has ordered demolition of religious structures, The Indian government has banned the celebration of religious festivals, A…

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I cover several beats such as Crypto, Telecom, and OTT at MediaNama. I can be found loitering at my local theatre when I am off work consuming movies by the dozen.

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