The I&B Ministry said that the videos contained fake news and morphed videos made with the intent to spread hatred among religious communities
Some of the videos had cartographic misrepresentation that could be detrimental to the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of India: Govt
The blocked videos had a cumulative viewership of over 13 Mn views
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) last week directed YouTube to block 45 videos from 10 channels as they were detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, its security and public order, and friendly relations with foreign states.
The content that came under the government scanner contained fake news and morphed videos made with the intent to spread hatred among religious communities, the ministry said in a statement on Monday (September 26).
The orders to block these content were issued under the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
The blocked videos had a cumulative viewership of over 13 Mn views.
“Examples include 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,” the statement added.
It said that they had the potential to cause communal disharmony and disrupt public order in the country.
“Some of the videos blocked by the Ministry were being used to spread disinformation on issues related to Agnipath scheme, Indian Armed Forces, India’s national security apparatus, Kashmir, etc. The content was observed to be false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India’s friendly relations with foreign states,” the ministry added.
The government said that some of those videos also depicted erroneous external boundaries of India with parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh outside the Indian territory. Such cartographic misrepresentation, it said, could be detrimental to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.
The ministry didn’t provide a list of the channels and videos it has ordered YouTube to block.
“The Government of India remains committed to thwart any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order,” the ministry added.
This is not the first time that the government has asked YouTube to take down videos. In July, Union Minister Anurag Thakur had informed the Parliament that the Centre banned 94 YouTube channels and 19 social media accounts since 2021 in allegations pertaining to fake news and content disturbing the sovereignty and integrity of India.
Last month, the ministry also blocked eight YouTube-based news channels, one Facebook account, and two Facebook posts.
The government’s take down orders to address the issues of fake news, misinformation, and content which can disturb the sovereignty and integrity of India has also landed it in legal trouble in the past. In July, microblogging platform Twitter moved the Karnataka High Court against some of the take down orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
The government, in the court, sought dismissal of the plea and said that the platform cannot be the arbiter of free speech.