In utter disregard to freedom of expression India blocks 2 Kashmir websites, 20 YouTube channels

New Delhi, December 21 (KMS): In utter violation of right to freedom of expression, India has blocked two Kashmir related websites — Kashmir Global and Kashmir Watch —and 20 YouTube channels.

Indian ministry of information and broadcasting ordered blocking of two Kashmir related websites and 20 YouTube channels. In two separate orders issued by Information Secretary Apurva Chandra, YouTube and the department of telecom was told to restrict access to the content in the interest of the country.

The two websites, Kashmir Global and Kashmir Watch, have been ordered to be blocked in entirety. The 20 YouTube channels include The Punch Line, International Web News, Khalsa Tv, The Naked Truth, News 24, 48 news, Fictional, Historical Facts, Punjab Viral, Naya Pakistan Global and Cover Story, among others.

“And whereas, after having gone through the information published by the aforementioned websites, I am satisfied that information posted on the above mentioned websites is detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, and security of the state, and therefore falls within the ambit of section 69(A) of the IT Act,” Chandra states in his interim order to the department of telecom.

Previously, orders to block websites could only be issued by the ministry of electronics and information technology or the department of telecom under the IT Act and the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951, respectively

The orders to block the content have been issued using the emergency powers granted to the secretary.

The rules, which were notified in February, have been challenged in the court by several digital news media outfits, including LiveLaw and The Wire.