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35 Pakistan-based YouTube channels blocked by govt for spreading anti-India content

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on Friday said it has issued directions to block 35 YouTube channels, two Instagram accounts, two Twitter accounts, two websites and a Facebook account for allegedly spreading “fake and anti-India content”.All of these have been operating from Pakistan and spreading anti-India fake and divisive news and other content, the ministry said.

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During a press briefing, Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary (P&A), I&B Ministry, said, “Yesterday on 20th January, based on fresh intelligence inputs which the Ministry received, we have issued directions for blocking 35 YouTube channels, 2 Twitter accounts, 2 Instagram Accounts, 2 websites & a Facebook account.”

“The common factor amongst all these accounts have been that they operate from Pakistan and spread fake anti-India news & other content,” he added.

I&B Ministry Secretary Apurv Chandra further confirmed that the Pakistan-based YouTube channels and social media accounts have been blocked under the IT Act.

“The contest is absolutely fake and toxic like the government is responsible for Bipin Rawat’s death, Bipin Rawat’s daughter is accepting Islam, North Korean army is going to Kashmir etc. What sort of nonsense is this! And these YouTube accounts had a total subscriber base of over 1.20 crore. These videos had 130 crore views, which is almost the population of India. Our intelligence agencies are now alive to the situation and more such news channels on YouTube will get blocked,” secretary Apurva Chandra said in a press briefing on Friday.

“This is also the responsibility of the intermediaries. YouTube should also see that these are absolutely fake news,” the secretary said adding that the blocking has been done taking recourse to the emergency provision.

The Anti-India and fake content propagated by those channels included subjects like Indian armed forces, Jammu and Kashmir, India’s foreign relations with other countries, the death of former CDS late Bipin Rawat, separatist ideas and notions, the ministry informed.

The ministry said the 35 accounts were identified to be part of four coordinated disinformation networks including the Apni Duniya Network operating 14 YouTube channels, and Talha Films Network operating 13 YouTube channels.

“Being an intermediary, you can’t allow such fake news channels. There has to be some amount of truth and research. The only truth in the fake news spread about Bipin Rawat’s death is that Bipin Rawat’s helicopter crashed,” the secretary said.

This is not the ministry’s first strike on social media channels spreading false information. In December 2021, the ministry blocked 20 Pakistan-based YouTube channels and two websites under the IT Rules.

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