India blocks 20 channels operating from Pak

NEW DELHI, Dec 21: The Indian Government today said it has asked YouTube and its Department of Telecom (DoT) to order Internet service providers to block 20 channels and two websites operating from Pakistan for spreading anti-India propaganda.
“In a closely coordinated effort between intelligence agencies and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Ministry on Monday ordered the blocking of 20 channels on YouTube and two websites spreading anti-India propaganda and fake news on the Internet,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Two separate orders were issued one for 20 YouTube channels and the other for two news websites, for blocking the news channels/portals.
“The channels and websites belong to a coordinated disinformation network operating from Pakistan and 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 Kashmir, Indian Army, minority communities in India, Ram Mandir, General Bipin Rawat,” the Ministry said.
The modus operandi of the anti-India disinformation campaign involved the Naya Pakistan Group (NPG), operating from Pakistan, having a network of YouTube channels and some other standalone YouTube channels not related to NPG, the statement said.
“The channels had a combined subscriber base of over 35 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 YouTube 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 said.
It was feared that these channels would be used to post content to undermine the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand.
The Ministry said it has utilized emergency powers under Rule 16 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
Last year, between June and September, India blocked 224 Chinese applications, including popular video making application TikTok, under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act on grounds that they were engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India. (UNI)