INDIA. Mumbai: The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered the blocking of 20 channels on YouTube and 2 websites for fake news and spreading anti-India propaganda.
In a closely coordinated effort between intelligence agencies, on Monday the ministry issued two separate orders – one for 20 YouTube channels and the other for 2 news websites, requesting the Union Department of Telecom to direct the internet service providers for blocking the news channels/portals.
The channels and websites belong to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan and were engaged in spreading fake news about various sensitive subjects related to India. The channels were used to post divisive content in a coordinated manner on topics like the Kashmir dispute, Ram Temple in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) inciting minority communities in India. The recent death of General Bipin Rawat in an air crash was misreported to the hilt.
Pakistan owned coordinated disinformation network
“The Naya Pakistan Group” (NPG), operating from Pakistan, has a network of YouTube channels, and some other standalone YouTube channels indulging in misinformation and anti-India propaganda. These channels have a combined subscriber base of over 36 lakh, and their videos had over 55 crore views. Some of the YouTube channels of the NPG were being operated by anchors of Pakistani news channels.
These channels had also posted content on issues such as the farmers’ protest, protests related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and tried to incite the minorities against the Government of India. It was also feared that these YouTube channels would be used to post content to undermine the democratic process of the upcoming elections in five states, the Ministry statement said.
The Ministry has acted to secure the information space in India, and utilized emergency powers under Rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. It observed that most of the content pertained to subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security and was mainly posted from Pakistan as a coordinated disinformation network against India and thus deemed it fit for action under the provisions to block content in case of emergency.
Some channels and their fabricated stories
The names of the channels and some headlines of the fake stories carried by them in the recent past —
Channel–The Punch Line: 60 Officers assassinated; Modi and reconstruction of Mosque at the place of Ram Mandir announced by Tayyab Erdogan; Yogi, Modi in trouble.
Channel–The Naked Truth: Indian Army defeated in Kashmir; Situation in a new direction for PM Modi after Amit Shah visit. News 24: Israeli Commandos in Kashmir; Indian Army Chief visits Israel to counter Pakistan and China; 200 Indian Army Personnel accept Islam in Srinagar. Fictional: 7 Arab countries ready to cut the oil supply to India. Historical Facts: Turk Army enters Ayodhya Ram Mandir to take revenge.
Punjab Viral: The Sikhs hoist flag over Indian Parliament. Naya Pakistan Global: 24 Indian Armymen targeted publicly in Nagaland by locals as revenge of their people. Cover Story: United Nations takes historic decision against RSS. Go Global: China sent Indian Diplomats packing from its Embassies; New game starts II Modi, Xi Jinping, Rajnath. E-Commerce: CDS Bipin Rawat helicopter crash case; China gives important proof about Joe Biden, Modi, Mi-17; Indian Army enters the Church after Mosque.
Many other channels including the abovementioned cumulatively received 58,68,07,175 views and 37,52,898 total subscribers in the recent past. Now they have been directed to be blocked. Besides, the “Naked Truth YouTube Channel” and “News24 YouTube Channel” have also been ordered to be blocked.
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