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Ministry of I&B directs YouTube to take down three channels for peddling fake news

The channel Sarkari Update uploaded one video in the last 24 hours that clocked 2,300 views. ‘Aaj Tak Live’ was removed from YouTube by the time we published this report. It is unclear if the channel was removed after the government’s direction or before.

On December 20, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting directed YouTube to take down three channels named Aaj Tak Live, News Headlines and Sarkari Updates for spreading fake news. News On AIR quoted sources from the ministry saying the minister took action after Press Information Bureau’s Fact Check Unit busted the channels for peddling fake news in the country.

In a statement, PIB Fact Check Unit said that the three channels were spreading false and sensational claims about the Prime Minister of India, the Election Commission of India, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of India, and other Government schemes. Furthermore, these channels also published many videos on other political leaders with false information.

Notably, these channels had close to 33 lakh subscribers, and the videos were watched over 30 crore times. The thumbnails and logos used by these channels included images from reputed news channels. They also used images of anchors of genuine news channels to show as if those were real. The channels had monetized the videos, thus making money by spreading misinformation on YouTube.

False claims made by the channels

In one of its contentious videos, dating back to May 16 last year, the Youtube channel “News Headlines” claimed that PM Modi had tendered his resignation and ‘President Rule’ was imposed in India.

“Modi has handed over his responsibilities to the President; President rule in effect in the country,” read the misleading headline of the video. “Will PM Modi now become President?” it had also claimed.

Similarly, hundreds of videos were uploaded on these channels to spread misinformation in a sensational manner to make money.

Two of the three channels still up

By the time we published this report, two of the three channels mentioned in the list were still up and running. News Headlines uploaded six videos in the last 24 hours that have already been seen over 2.8 lakh times.

Screenshot of News Headlines YouTube channel taken at 01:47 PM on December 12, 2022. Source: YouTube

On the other hand, Sarkari Update uploaded one video in the last 24 hours that clocked 2,300 views. ‘Aaj Tak Live’ was removed from YouTube by the time we published this report. It is unclear if the channel was removed after the government’s direction or before.

Screenshot of Sarkari Update YouTube channel taken at 01:47 PM on December 12, 2022. Source: YouTube

In the last year, the Ministry of I&B has taken strict steps against YouTube channels and pages on other social media platforms for spreading fake news. As per reports, over one hundred channels have been banned or taken down on GoI’s directions.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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