Majority of blocked channels, URLs were created by Pakistan and Chinese-operated handles
The Government of India has blocked 94 YouTube channels, 19 social media accounts, and 747 URLs engaged in propagating anti-national agendas in past one year. Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur on Thursday informed Parliament that in 2021-22 the Ministry has taken strong action against YouTube channels working against the interest of the country. Responding to a question in Rajya Sabha, Thakur said the Ministry has acted against 94 YouTube channels, 19 social media accounts, and 747 URLs and got them blocked. These actions have been taken under Section 69A Information Technology Act 2000, he said.
The Minister further said that the government has strongly acted against agencies working against the sovereignty of the country by spreading fake news and spreading propaganda on the internet. “Those (members of opposition) standing here (in the Well of the House) do not raise their voice against elements working against the interest of the country. But we have taken action against them,” he said. According to officials, the majority of the blocked channels and URLs were created by Pakistan and Chinese-operated handles. There are certain Jihadi elements also behind these anti-India agendas, they said.
Replying to Opposition on the cases against Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, the Minister said it is important to differentiate between a fact checker and those who try to spread enmity in the garb of fact-checking. “It is important to understand who is a fact checker and who is trying to spread enmity in the society in the name of fact-checking. If a complaint is registered against them, then action is taken under the rule of law.” He said this in response to a question by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) MP Manoj Kumar Jha.
He had asked the Minister to outline the procedure to deal with those who spread hatred and animosity through their commentaries. “I would like to ask the modus operandi on those who spread hatred and animosity using their commentaries where little to no action is being taken against them. Whereas action is taken on fact checkers and we have seen that recently,” Jha said. It was in an apparent reference to the Zubair case.
Thakur said just like the Press Council of India (PCI) takes action against newspapers suo motu or based on complaints filed, the Union electronics and information technology (MeitY) takes action on complaints against digital platforms and the programme code is applicable for electronic media. “Action is taken against them (those who spread enmity in the name of fact-checking) under the law and the Union Ministry does not meddle in that,” he added.
BJP MP Rakesh Sinha asked about the action taken against those involved in “anti-India propaganda” using fake accounts on Facebook and Twitter. “There are some implied selfish elements that are trying to finish the image of India. What are the steps taken against these people?” Thakur said the government has strongly acted against agencies working against the sovereignty of the country by spreading fake news and spreading propaganda on the internet.
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