The government on Thursday ordered the blocking of eight YouTube channels, including one operating from Pakistan, for allegedly using "fake and sensational thumbnails" and spreading disinformation related to India's national security.
The channels that were blocked under the Information Technology Rules-2021 include seven Indian news channels, a statement from the Information and Broadcasting ministry said.
The blocked YouTube channels had over 114 crore views and 85.73 lakh subscribers and the content was being monetised, it said.
The blocked channels are Loktantra TV, U&V TV, A M Razvi, Gouravshali Pawan Mithilanchal, SeeTop5TH, Sarkari Update, Sab Kuch Dekho and Pakistan-based News ki Duniya.
The Indian YouTube channels were observed to be "using fake and sensational thumbnails", images of news anchors and logos of certain TV news channels to mislead the viewers to believe that the news was authentic, the statement said.
They also made false claims such as the demolition of religious structures by the government, ban on the celebration of religious festivals, and declaration of religious war in India, it added.
"Such content was found to have the potential to create communal disharmony and disturb public order in the country," it said.
It said the YouTube channels were also used to post "fake news" on various subjects such as the Indian Armed Forces and Jammu and Kashmir.
"The content was observed to be completely false and sensitive from the perspective of national security and India's friendly relations with foreign States," the statement said.
It said that the content blocked by the Ministry was found to be detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the country, security of the State, India's friendly relations with foreign states, and public order.
Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the statement said.
Since December last year, the government has issued directions for blocking 102 YouTube-based news channels and several other social media accounts.