(G.N.S) dt. 22
Minister of information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur told the Rajya Sabha that the Central government has blocked 104 YouTube channels and 45 YouTube videos for providing “false” and “misleading” information that could lead to rumors or fear-mongering.
The I&B minister was responding to a question on the spread of ‘fake news’ circulating through digital platforms posed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member Jugalsinh Lokhandwala.
“We have taken action against channels that have attempted to mislead and create fear and divisions in society under Section 69A of the IT Act,” Thakur said.
“We have banned 104 YouTube channels and blocked 45 individual videos, four Facebook accounts and two posts, three accounts on Instagram, five Twitter accounts, and three podcasts,” the minister stated in the Rajya Sabha, adding, “We have also taken strict action against two apps and six websites as well. The ministry will not hesitate to take such strict action to preserve the country’s security.”
While, on the question of misleading advertisements of sexual nature targeting children asked by BJP Rajya Sabha member Rakesh Sinha, Thakur said that any such advertisement which flouts rules is identified promptly, and a notice is sent to the creators. He underlined the age categories created for OTT content under the IT rules 2021, namely above seven years, above 13 years, over 16 years, and the adult category.
The minister also said that, “Everyone can choose which age group of children they want to cater to. There is artistic freedom through this provision, and the viewer can choose which ‘age category’ of content they wish to consume. Along with this, we have formed rules so that action can be taken against those who flout these categories, and if a program is brought to our attention in the future, we will take action against it.”