Centre banned over 150 ‘anti-India’ sites, YouTube channels in 2 years.

More than 150 websites and YouTube-based news channels have been taken down by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) since May 2021 for producing “anti-India” content, officials aware of the details said.

The websites and channels were removed over violation of Section 69A of Information Technology (IT) Act, which empowers the Centre to issue directions to any government agency or an intermediary to block content in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to such matters.

A senior I&B official, who did not wish to be named, said: “Over 150 websites and YouTube-based news channels have been brought down by the ministry in the past two years for producing anti-India content”.

The YouTube news channels, which were brought down, had over 12,123,500 subscribers and over 1,320,426,964 views in total. Among the channels which were taken down were Khabar with Facts, Khabar Taiz, Information Hub, Flash Now, Mera Pakistan, Hakikat Ki Duniya and Apni Dunya TV, the official said.

The I&B ministry has, from time to time, issued orders to take down YouTube channels for spreading misinformation and threatening the country’s sovereignty under the new IT rules incorporated on February 25, 2021.

In July last year, I&B minister Anurag Thakur informed Parliament that 78 YouTube-based news channels and 560 YouTube links were blocked for public access between 2021 and 2022 over violations. He had said: “Any (social media) account that is trying to spin a conspiracy or mislead people will face action.”

In January last year, the Centre blocked 35 Pakistan-based YouTube channels and two websites for “spreading anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media”.

Source- Hindustan Times.

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