Guwahati: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, utilizing the emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021, has issued orders for blocking twenty-two (22) YouTube-based news channels, three (3) Twitter accounts, and one (1) Facebook account, and one (1) news website.

The blocked YouTube channels cumulative viewership of over 260 crore and were allegedly used to spread fake news, and coordinated disinformation over social media on subjects sensitive from the perspective of national security, India’s foreign relations, and public order.

Action on Indian YouTube-based news channels

This is the first time action has been taken against the Indian YouTube-based news publishers since the notification of the IT Rules, 2021 in February last year. Through the recent blocking order, eighteen (18) Indian and four (4) Pakistan based YouTube news channels have been blocked.

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Analysis of Content

A statement by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting said that Multiple YouTube channels were used to post fake news on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. The content ordered to be blocked also included certain anti-India content posted from multiple social media accounts operated in a coordinated manner from Pakistan.

“It was observed that a significant amount of false content published by these Indian YouTube-based channels related to the ongoing situation in Ukraine, and aimed at jeopardizing India’s foreign relations with other countries”, the statement added.

Modus Operandi

The blocked Indian YouTube channels were using templates and logos of certain TV news channels, including images of their news anchors to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic.

“False thumbnails were used; and title and thumbnail of the videos were frequently altered to increase the virality of content on social media. In certain cases, it was also observed that systematic anti-India fake news was originating from Pakistan”, the statement futher read.

The I&B Ministry also said that with this action, since December 2021, the Ministry has issued directions for blocking of 78 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts on grounds related to national security, sovereignty and integrity of India, public order, etc.

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It added, “The Government of India remains committed to ensuring an authentic, trustworthy, and safe online news media environment, and thwarting any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order.”

Details of Social Media Accounts and Website Blocked

YouTube channels

Sl. NoYouTube Channel NameMedia Statistics
Indian YouTube channels
1. ARP NewsSubscribers: Total Views: 4,40,68,652
2.AOP NewsSubscribers: NATotal Views: 74,04,673
3.LDC NewsSubscribers:  4,72,000Total Views:6,46,96,730
4.SarkariBabuSubscribers:  2,44,000Total Views: 4,40,14,435
5.SS ZONE HindiSubscribers:  N.ATotal Views:5,28,17,274
6.Smart NewsSubscribers: NATotal Views: 13,07,34,161
7.News23HindiSubscribers: NATotal Views: 18,72,35,234
8.Online KhabarSubscribers: NATotal Views: 4,16,00,442
9.DP news Subscribers: NATotal Views: 11,99,224
10.PKB News Subscribers: NATotal Views: 2,97,71,721
11.KisanTakSubscribers:  NATotal Views: 36,54,327
12.Borana NewsSubscribers: NATotal Views: 2,46,53,931
13.Sarkari News UpdateSubscribers: NA Total Views: 2,05,05,161
14.Bharat MausamSubscribers: 2,95,000Total Views: 7,04,14,480
15.RJ ZONE 6Subscribers:  NATotal Views: 12,44,07,625
16.Exam ReportSubscribers: NATotal Views: 3,43,72,553
17.Digi GurukulSubscribers:  NATotal Views: 10,95,22,595
18.????????????Subscribers: NATotal Views: 23,69,305
Pakistan based YouTube channels
19.DuniyaMeryAagySubscribers: 4,28,000Total Views: 11,29,96,047
20.Ghulam NabiMadniTotal Views:  37,90,109
21.HAQEEQAT TVSubscribers: 40,90,000Total Views: 1,46,84,10,797
22.HAQEEQAT TV 2.0Subscribers: 3,03,000Total Views: 37,542,059
    

Website

Sl .NoWebsite
 1Dunya Mere Aagy

Twitter accounts (All Pakistan based)

Sl .NoTwitter AccountNo. of followers
 1Ghulam NabiMadni5,553
 2DunyaMeryAagy4,063
 3Haqeeqat TV323,800

Facebook account

Sl .NoFacebook AccountNo. of followers
 1DunyaMeryAagy2,416

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