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Centre blocked 122 YouTube news channels since Dec 2021: Anurag Thakur

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said the channels carried content that was violative of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act

Anurag Thakur

The Centre on Thursday said that since December 2021 it has issued directions to block 122 YouTube news channels for carrying content related to the "sovereignty and integrity" of the country.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, said the channels carried content that was violative of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.

"Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has, since December, 2021, issued directions for blocking from public access of 122 YouTube based news channels for carrying content violative of section 69A of IT Act, 2000, in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to the above," he said.

Thakur said that when it comes to electronic media, all private satellite television channels are required to adhere to the Programme Code laid down under the Cable TV Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, in respect of content broadcast by them.

"The Act also provides for a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism for addressing grievances relating to the violation of the Codes by the TV channels. Appropriate action is taken where violation of the Codes is found," the minister said.

In reply to a separate question, Thakur said the government has placed the draft Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023, that seeks to replace the existing Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, and Guidelines regulating the broadcasting sector.

The bill stipulates regulatory processes, introduces contemporary definitions and provisions for emerging technologies, and seeks to strengthen the self-regulatory regime for content regulation.

He said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has invited feedback and comments from stakeholders, including domain experts and the general public, on the draft bill.

In response to another question, Thakur said the government has established an institutional mechanism involving nodal officers in the ministry and the Central Board of Film Certification for receiving complaints regarding exhibition of pirated/infringing copies of films on the internet.

The nodal officers have been empowered to issue notification to intermediaries for disabling access to links violative of the copyrights, he said.

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