The Union government on Tuesday, August 16, ordered the blocking of eight YouTube channels, including one operating from Pakistan, for allegedly spreading misinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order. The blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore cumulative views and 85.73 lakh subscribers in total, and the content was being monetised, an official statement issued on Thursday said. The channels blocked under the Information Technology Rules, 2021 include seven Indian news channels and a Pakistan-based channel. One Facebook account and two Facebook posts were also blocked. 

Among the blocked channels, the Indian ones are Loktantra TV, Sab Kuch Dekho, U&V TV, AM Razvi, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal, SeeTop5TH, and Sarkari Update. Sab Kuch Dekho had the highest total views (32,86,03,227) while SeeTop5TH had the highest number of subscribers (33.50 lakh). The blocked Pakistan-based channel News ki Dunya had a total of 61,69,439 views and 97,000 subscribers. The Facebook account of Loktantra TV was also banned. Some of the banned content from the Pakistan-based channel furnished as examples of fake news claimed that “India’s Qutub Minar mosque has been demolished” and that “100 crore Hindus will kill 40 crore Muslims, and that Muslims should go to Pakistan or Bangladesh otherwise they will be massacred,” according to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry.
The purpose of the content published by some of these YouTube channels was to spread hatred among religious communities in India, the statement from the I&B Ministry alleged. “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, etc. Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country,” it said. 
It said the YouTube channels were also used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir. “The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign States,” the statement said. It added that the blocked content was found to be “detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India” and was accordingly covered within the ambit of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

“The blocked Indian YouTube channels were observed to be using fake and sensational thumbnails, images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic,” the statement said. 

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