Ground Report | New Delhi: India blocks YouTube channels; The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has blocked two Kashmir-related websites and 20 YouTube channels. Two websites, Kashmir Global and Kashmir Watch were ordered to be completely blocked.
The 20 YouTube channels include The Punch Line, International Web News, Khalsa Tv, The Naked Truth, News 24, 48 news, Fictional, Historical Facts, Punjab Viral, Naya Pakistan Global, and Cover Story, among others.
According to this list, The Punch Line claimed in a report that 20 Indian army generals had been killed at a training center in Kashmir by “Mujaheddin of Kashmir.” Another report on the same channel claimed that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has decided to build a mosque instead of Ram mandir in Ayodhya. A third example listed a report on the Naya Pakistan Global channel that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent his army to Ayodhya.
The two orders to block YouTube channels and websites were issued by the secretary of information and broadcasting Apurva Chandra invoking its emergency powers under the Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Code of Ethics for Digital Media) notified on February 25 this year.
“And while, having reviewed the information posted by the aforementioned websites, I am satisfied that the information posted on the aforementioned websites is detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the defense of India and the security of the state, and therefore falls within the scope of section 69 (A) of the IT Law ”, declares Chandra in his provisional order to the department of telecommunications.
The Ministry has invoked the Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for intermediaries and Code of ethics for digital media) to block websites and YouTube channels. Notified in February this year, the rules empower the government to block access to news content under section 69 (A) of the Information Technology Act.
TI’s rules, which introduced a code of ethics for digital media, requiring platforms for appointing officials, over-the-top (OTT) platform grievance redress officers and digital news media platforms, institute a three-way mechanism. levels for complaint redress with a ministerial inter-committee at its top and detailed the steps that the I&B ministry must take to address non-code-compliant content.
In two separate orders issued by I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra, YouTube and the telecommunications department were told to restrict access to the content for reasons of national security and integrity of the country.
“And while, having reviewed the information posted by the aforementioned websites, I am satisfied that the information posted on the aforementioned websites is detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the defense of India and the state security, and therefore falls within the scope of section 69 (A) of the IT Act ”, declares Chandra in his interim order to the department of telecommunications.
The provisional order will be placed before the interdepartmental committee for review. The interdepartmental committee forms the apex of the three-tier redress mechanism, which includes a self-regulatory mechanism, followed by regulation by industry bodies.