IB ministry orders YouTube to block 2 news sites, 20 channels

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting asked the Department of Telecommunications and
YouTube to restrict 2 news websites and 20 YouTube channels in the first application under the Information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Digital Media Code of Conduct) Rules, 2021, on Monday. Carriers of “harmful, counterfeit, and anti-India” content were discovered.

The information in question, according to sources, ranged from “blasphemy” to “obviously impacts India’s security and sovereignty” and appeared to have originated in Pakistan and may have ties to Pakistan’s ISI.

The ‘Naya Pakistan Group,’ which has over a million subscribers on YouTube and maintains more than 15 channels, has been designated for removal. According to sources, claims such as “PM Modi conceded defeat in Kashmir; Article 370 restored,” “Taliban army leaves Kabul for India,” “Tayyip Erdogan sends 35,000 mercenaries to Kashmir,” and “Turk army enters Ayodhya Ram temple for revenge” were all seen as “integrated” by the ministry in the video and photographic material circulated on its platform. An attempt to sow discord in India.”

As per the reports, the rapid removal of offensive promotional material orders was issued under Section 16 of the IT Rules. This emergency clause authorises the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to block content that is “necessary or expedient and proper to intercept.”

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According to the sources, the order was sent to YouTube’s India and global offices as a “first step by the government.” Social media platforms have also verified compliance, with channels designated by the ministry likely to be blocked within 24 to 48 hours.

According to IT guidelines, DoT and YouTube must validate the ministry’s temporary instructions at the Inter-Departmental Government Committee (IGC) meeting within 48 hours. This will also be the first time the IGC has met since the IT regulations were announced in February.

The government sources claim that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is directly identifying the content used and taking action against it. This is the first time the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has taken punitive action under IT laws.