PCI condemns move to block select YouTube channels 

Bolta Hindustan, National Dastak and Article 19 India on notice 

PCI condemns move to block select YouTube channels

The Press Club of India (PCI) has condemned the Union information and broadcasting ministry’s alleged direction to YouTube to block the channels of two independent Hindi news outlets. 

According to media reports, in emails sent to the owners of these channels, YouTube said it got blocking requests from the ministry, invoking 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. 

The two Hindi news outlets directed to be blocked by MIB are ‘Bolta Hindustan’ and  ‘National Dastak’, which have over 3 lakh subscribers and 94.2 lakh subscribers, respectively. Another channel, Article 19 India, has also got a notice, reports said. 

“The government wants to shut down National Dastak,” Scroll quoted ‘National Dastak’ as saying in a post on X. “YouTube sent a notice on April 3. Article 19 [another YouTube channel] has also received a notice. All this is happening while the model code of conduct is in effect.”

On 4 April, journalist Naveen Kumar, who runs the Article 19 YouTube channel, said that Facebook restricted the channel’s page.

The Press Club of India and Press Association said they feel concerned over this “extreme action of the government as it 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.” 

“The ministry headed by Anurag Singh Thakur must disclose the reason behind such draconian orders of blocking YouTube channels. We demand the immediate lifting of this blockade. We endorse and support the stand taken by the Editors Guild of India and Digipub on this issue,” Gautam Lahiri, president, Press Club of India, said in a statement.

Indian Printer and Publisher had earlier written about National Dastak and Article 19 India in a report about the rise of YouTube channels 

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