Tamil Nadu cabinet approves ordinance to ban online gaming

This is disappointing because it disregards the 6 decades of established legal jurisprudence: AIGF

Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu Cabinet headed by Chief Minister MK Stalin today approved the Ordinance to ban online gaming in the state. The ordinance will be promulgated after getting permission from Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi.

Meanwhile, the Indian government on Monday ordered the banning of 10 YouTube channels for hateful speech against religious communities in an attempt to spread communal disharmony in the country.

As per the inputs available from the intelligence agencies acting on their advice, 45 videos from 10 YouTube channels have been blocked by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, said the I-B ministry. “Orders to block the concerned videos were issued on September 23 under the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

The blocked videos had a cumulative viewership of over 1 crore 30 lakh views,” officials said. The ministry further claimed that the content in these videos included fake news videos with the intent to create communal disharmony in the country.

“Government is said to have taken away the religious rights of certain communities, violent threats against religious communities, declaration of civil war in India, etc. Such videos were found to have the potential to cause communal disharmony and disrupt public order in the country,” officials said.

The videos that have been blocked include disinformation about the Agnipath scheme, the Indian Armed Forces, India’s national security apparatus, Kashmir, etc. Certain videos depicted erroneous external boundaries of India with parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh outside the Indian territory.

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“The content blocked by the Ministry was found to be detrimental to sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the State, India’s friendly relations with foreign States, and public order in the country. Accordingly, the content was covered within the ambit of section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000,” officials said on the ban.

They further added, “The Government of India remains committed to thwart any attempts at undermining India’s sovereignty and integrity, national security, foreign relations, and public order.”

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur took to Twitter and said, “The Ministry has banned and suspended 10 YouTube channels for attempting to sabotage ties with friendly countries through misinformation, spewing venom against the country. It has been done before in the interest of the nation, will do it in future also.”

Reacting to the big breaking, the CEO of All India Gaming Federation, Roland Landers said, “This is disappointing because it disregards the 6 decades of established legal jurisprudence and also the recent judgment of the Madras HC which struck down a similar law.”

We have been trying to engage with the government to understand their concerns and have also made them aware of the proliferation of offshore gambling websites and apps which flourish when constitutionally protected Indian apps are banned.

We had provided various consumer protection and other measures which stop short of an outright ban. In such a scenario this is unfortunate. What is also surprising is that the State government has already appealed the judgment of Madras HC and the SC had recently issued notices on the same.

Instead of waiting for the SC judgment and in the meantime respecting the categorical decision by their own HC, they seem to have taken another unconstitutional decision which will eventually only benefit online gambling operators. We will wait for the final bill to comment in detail and decide our next course of action,” he added.

This is not the first time that the Union Government has put a ban on anti-India content. So far 102 YouTube channels four Facebook pages, five Twitter accounts and three Instagram accounts have also been blocked for spreading hate contact against India.