The Union government on Monday said that it has directed YouTube to block 45 videos on ten channels, alleging that they peddled fake news intended to spread religious hatred.
The order had been issued on September 23 under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The videos that were blocked cumulatively had more than 1 crore 30 lakh views, according to a press release from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The Centre said that fake news in the videos included “false claims such as the government to have taken away the religious rights of certain communities, violent threats against religious communities, declaration of civil war in India, etc.”
Some of the videos spread disinformation about the Agnipath scheme for short-term military recruitment, the armed forces, the country’s national security apparatus and Kashmir, the government said.
The Centre added that certain videos showed parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to be outside India. One such video, posted by YouTuber Dhruv Rathee, was in the context of political developments in Pakistan that led to the ouster of the country’s former prime minister Imran Khan.
Another video that was blocked claimed that all Central Industrial Security Force personnel had been terminated from duty.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur said that the blocked content “was found to be detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, India’s friendly relations with foreign States, and public order in the country”.
He said that the government was committed to thwart any attempt to undermine India’s sovereignty and integrity.
This was the second time in less than two months that the government issued such a directive. On August 18, the ministry issued directions for blocking eight YouTube channels and one Facebook account for allegedly spreading disinformation related to India’s national security, foreign relations and public order.
Of the eight channels, one was being operated from Pakistan, the government had said.