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PCI denounces blocking of YouTube channels of 2 Hindi news outlets

01:14 AM Apr 14, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
pci denounces blocking of youtube channels of 2 hindi news outlets
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New Delhi, Apr 13: Press Club of India (PCI) has denounced the action by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) directing YouTube to block the channels of two Hindi news outlets.

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In a statement by PCI, it said over the past 10 days, the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has directed YouTube to block the channels of two Hindi news outlets.

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While the Press Club of India and Press Association condemn such extreme action of the government, “we feel concerned as this step amounts to censorship on media and an attack on the freedom of the press, especially when the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are just a few days away.”

On April 3, Hindi channel, “Bolta Hindustan,” with over three lakh subscribers, was taken offline by YouTube at the directions of the government. Similarly, the streaming platform informed another Hindi channel, “National Dastak” with 94.2 lakh subscribers that it has been instructed to take it offline.

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In emails sent to the owners of these channels, YouTube said that the blocking requests it had received from MIB invoked Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Rule 15(2) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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On April 13, according to news reports, YouTube channels run by two independent journalists, Mehgnad and Sonit Mishra, received notices for demonetisation for hosting videos pertaining to Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), the statement added.

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“These two journalists were merely addressing various concerns surrounding EVMs and VVPAT at a time when India is headed for crucial Lok Sabha elections. Even the Supreme Court is seized of the EVM and VVPAT issue and has issued notices to the government.  Earlier, several X handles (formerly Twitter) of independent journalists, reporting on farmers protest, were blocked. These handles were unblocked just a few days back after remaining inaccessible for more than two months.”

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