Government’s Crackdown on Misinformation (Anurag Thakur)
New Delhi, 27 July (City Times) : In a resolute move to curb the dissemination of fake news and content detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, the Indian government has issued directives to block 635 URLs, including 120 YouTube-based news channels, since December 2021. The action comes in accordance with Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, aiming to safeguard national security and public order.
Information and Broadcasting Minister’s Response
Anurag Thakur, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, provided a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, outlining the government’s measures to combat the spread of harmful content on the internet. The URLs in question were found to contain content that compromised India’s interests, including sovereignty, defense, security, friendly relations with foreign states, and incitement to cognizable offenses.
Action Under IT Rules, 2021
Minister Thakur explained that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, since December 2021, had issued specific directions for blocking access to 635 URLs, which included 120 YouTube-based news channels. The action was taken under the provisions of Part-III of IT Rules, 2021, to regulate and control objectionable content online.
Crackdown on Online Betting Advertisements
In response to another question, Anurag Thakur highlighted the government’s efforts to address concerns related to online betting platforms. He disclosed that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had issued advisories to print, electronic, and digital media on three occasions – dated 13.06.2022, 03.10.2022, and 06.04.2023. These advisories specifically urged media outlets to refrain from publishing advertisements promoting online betting platforms or their surrogate products/services.
Ensuring Compliance with Electronic Cigarettes Act
The government also issued an advisory to media platforms, as mentioned by Minister Thakur, ensuring that they comply with the provisions of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2019. This advisory serves to prevent any contravention of the Act through advertisements, promotions, or other campaigns related to electronic cigarettes.
In conclusion, the Indian government, under the leadership of Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, has demonstrated its commitment to combat the spread of fake news and harmful content on the internet. The decisive action taken to block 635 URLs, including YouTube-based news channels, showcases the government’s efforts to safeguard national interests, maintain public order, and protect the integrity of the nation. Additionally, the advisories against online betting advertisements and electronic cigarette promotions reinforce the government’s vigilance in ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations in the digital space.