Invoking the emergency powers under the recently notified intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code in the Information and Technology (IT) Act for the first time, 20 YouTube channels and two websites were banned by the Indian government for allegedly running ‘anti-India’ propaganda from Pakistan, according to reports. Government Issues High Severity Warning For Google Chrome Users

According to the reports, I&B secretary Apurva Chandra directed Youtube and the Department of Telecom to ban the content as it infringes upon the sovereignty and integrity of India.

The reports further state that the ‘Anti-India contents’ were being funded by Pakistan’s spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

These channels were first flagged by the Indian security agencies, following which the I&B ministry conducted an inquiry, according to a report in The Economic Times.

One of the sites identified on YouTube was 'Naya Pakistan' that had more than 2 million subscribers on Youtube and was running 'false news' on various issues such as Kashmir, farmers protests in India, Article 370, and Ayodhya. Another portal that was banned is ‘Naya Pakistan Group’, which ran over 15 channels on YouTube and had a following of more than a million subscribers. The total subscriber base of these YouTube channels is estimated to be more than 3.5 million and they have a total viewership of 500 million, according to the officials. The content on the channels were seen by the ministry as a “concerted effort to sow unrest in India”. Indian IT Rules 2021 Do Not Conform With International Human Rights Norms, Says UN Special Rapporteurs

The decision to ban and block these channels and websites will be presented before the Inter Departmental Committee (IDC) within 48 hours, following which it will be ratified by a committee under the IT Rules, 2021 according to the officials.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 21, 2021 01:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website