Delhi Union of Journalists has raised concerns over the growing misuse of the Information Technology Rules, 2021, to stifle social media platforms and accounts. The Union particularly highlights a concerning incident where the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting directed YouTube to take down the channel Bolta Hindustan on April 4, 2024, invoking Rule 15(2).

Rule 15(2) empowers the Ministry to instruct social media platforms to block content. However, Google, the parent company of YouTube, provided no explanation for the removal of Bolta Hindustan’s channel, sparking demands for transparency from both the Ministry and Google.

The Union emphasizes the importance of transparency in a democracy and insists that accused entities must be provided with clear reasons for any actions taken against them. This call for transparency follows the arbitrary deletion of Bolta Hindustan’s Instagram account two months ago, prompting demands for the restoration of both accounts by the Delhi Union of Journalists.

The Union also highlights a pattern of similar shutdowns of social media channels and handles in recent times. Instances include the restriction of Article19-India’s Facebook account on February 27, 2024, the abrupt termination and subsequent restoration of Media Star World’s YouTube channel on November 27, 2023, and the blocking of Gaon Savera’s social media handles in August 2023, among others.

Furthermore, the Union expresses concern over the use of intimidation tactics against journalists, exemplified by BJP leader Gaurav Bhatia filing a defamation suit against several journalists and social media handles on April 5, 2024. Bhatia’s suit follows an alleged altercation at Karkardooma court in Delhi on March 20, 2024, demanding the removal of reports and commentary deemed defamatory.

Amidst these developments, the Delhi Union of Journalists advocates for greater tolerance of diverse viewpoints, emphasizing the importance of free expression while condemning hate speech and incitement of violence.

“Bolta Hindustan” YouTube Channel Ban Sparks Concerns

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