There are various websites, YouTube channels and social media accounts that work towards peddling anti-India propaganda. However, those earning livelihoods by demeaning India on social media platforms will now have to sit empty-handed as India has decided to crack down on these Pakistan based channels.
India orders to ban 35 ISI propaganda channels
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday reported that “It has issued orders to ban 35 more channels on the online social media platform after receiving intelligence inputs against them.”
These channels, with more than 100 crore views, were all based in Pakistan, ministry officials said. They were involved in spreading “anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner over digital media”, it added.
It is pertinent to note that the decision came a month after it invoked new powers under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under which it had banned 20 YouTube channels.
The 35 accounts were reportedly operating from Pakistan and were part of four coordinated disinformation networks. The Ministry identified two of them as Apni Duniya Network and Talha Films Network. The networks were operating 14 and 13 YouTube channels respectively. “All these networks appeared to be operated with a single goal of spreading fake news-oriented towards the Indian audience,” the ministry said.
Furthermore, it was reported that “The channels propagated content to encourage separatism, divide India on the lines of religion, and create animosity among the various sections of the Indian society. Such information was feared to have the potential to incite the audience into the commission of crimes adversely affecting public order in the country.”
“A war against the country”, says I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra
While interacting with the media, I&B Secretary Apurva Chandra told that the channels had combined subscribers strength of 1.2 crore and having 130 crore views. As per his opinion, these were “very, very toxic channels. It was sort of a war against the country. War of misinformation.”
he further reported that content was on “serious issues” such as “Indian Armed Forces, Jammu and Kashmir, India’s foreign relations, separatist ideas,” and the recent death of Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat.
When asked about the role of intermediaries such as YouTube and Facebook among others, Chandra replied that it is their responsibility and such content “should get flagged in their system”. He also appreciated the intermediaries saying that the ministry has received a “very good response” from them.
Given the government’s crackdown on these Pakistan based propaganda channels, it is safe to say that India will no longer tolerate any fake narrative being peddled against it and it will make these anti-Indians face the music.