India Blocks YouTube Channels In First Deployment Of New IT Rules
In India, twenty YouTube channels and two websites have been blocked under emergency powers granted by the IT Act. This marks the first time that India has used the IT Act to take action in terms of content moderation. According to officials, the banned channels were running anti-India content from Pakistan that threatened the country’s sovereignty and integrity. The channels were reportedly part of a coordinated disinformation network spreading fake news about various sensitive subject related to India, according to India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Topics on the channels included minority communities, Kashmir, Indian Army, General Bipin Rawat, Ram Mandir, and more.
The ministry reported that 15 of the channels were run with the help of the Naya Pakistan Group under neutral names such as Historical Facts and Go Global. In total, the channels had amassed over 3.5 million subscribers and boasted a total readership of 500 million. The IT Act was introduced recently and aims to protect Indian citizens from disinformation campaigns online, as well as grant emergency powers to the government to block content and secure the information space.