Center orders YouTube to shut down “National Dastak” channel


A digital news portal, National Dastak, said on Monday, April 8, that the Union government has asked YouTube to remove its channel from the platform. With over 9.4 million subscribers, the channel describes itself as a voice for Dalits, Adivasis, farmers, women and other marginalized groups.

“The government wants to shut down National Dastak,” the news portal posted on microblogging site X, adding: “YouTube sent out a notice on April 3. Another Article 19 platform has also received a notice.” All of this is happening while the Code of Conduct is in force. There are countless newspapers and television news channels. Bahujans are so afraid of National Dastak.”

The development comes a few days after another digital news portal, Bolta Hindustanwas removed from YouTube on April 4 at the behest of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

In an email addressed to National Dastak, YouTube said it had received a notice from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to close the channel under Rule 15(2) of the Information Technology Rules, 2021 and Section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2000.

The Union government fears a news portal for Dalits while allowing many newspapers and television news channels to operate, the news organization said.

In conversation with Siasat.comShambu Kumar Singh, senior editor of National Dastak, said, “The government has asked YouTube to remove our channel and they do not want to give any reason for it. Our channel has been targeted because we ask questions to those in power.”

Asked if National Dastak planned to challenge the government order, he said: “We are not a political party and we do not have enough money to fight the government. “We do plain and simple journalism. We’re still thinking about what options we have if YouTube blocks our channel.”

Section 69 of the IT Act gives authorized personnel in the Union government, not below the rank of joint secretary, the power to issue takedown orders to social media platforms. The government can use this law to block content from online intermediaries if the content threatens national security, sovereignty or public order.

Another portal, Article 19, also faced similar restrictions. Its founder Navin Kumar said on April 4 that Facebook had restricted his page.

This post was last modified on April 9, 2024 at 6:23 p.m