4,999 YouTube links have been blocked by the Union Government so far, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a written Rajya Sabha response on Friday. These include individual YouTube videos and entire channels. These orders were passed under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information for Public) Rules, 2009, and do not include channels and videos taken down in response to court orders.
No 69A orders overturned
Until March 10, 974 “social media URLs, accounts, channels, pages, apps, web pages, websites, etc” have been blocked in 2023 under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, the IT Ministry said in response to another query on Friday. Starting in 2014, there were 471, 500, 633, 1385, 2799, 3635, 9849, 6118, and 6935 such orders passed until 2022.
Section 69A allows the government to order the blocking of content on the grounds of “it [being] necessary or expedient to do so in the interest of sovereignty and integrity, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for inciting cognizable offence relating to above”.
A Review Committee is required to meet at least once in two months to see if 69A blocking orders were necessary. None of the 32,325 blocking orders passed since 2014 have been overturned by the Review Committee.