The central government on Thursday said it has blocked over 60 social media accounts, including YouTube channels, Facebook and Instagram pages, in the last two months for spreading anti-India fake news. The government gave this information in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan, in reply to supplementary questions in the Upper House, said that the government is very much concerned about the freedom of expression.
Asked about action taken against those spreading fake news and publishers of anti-national material, he said more than 60 accounts including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have been blocked. He said that these YouTube channels are sponsored from Pakistan.
On fake news through newspapers, Minister L Murugan further said that the Press Council of India is an autonomous statutory body and takes care of journalists’ ethics code.
He said that journalists have to follow the code of conduct. Where he has not complied with the code of conduct under Section 14 of the Press Council Act, action is to be initiated. We have taken action against them in more than 150 cases.
Asked about the role of the Techfog app in spreading fake news, Murugan said the government has set up a fact check unit, which has answered over 30,000 questions. He said that this unit is also verifying the viral fake news.
According to an official statement, the ministry on January 21 ordered the blocking of 35 YouTube-based news channels and two websites that were involved in spreading anti-India fake news in a coordinated manner on digital media.
Also, two Twitter accounts, two Instagram accounts and one Facebook account were blocked. In December also, 20 YouTube channels and two websites were blocked, the official statement said.