“The messenger is being punished.” – Bolta Hindustan after YouTube channel ban

Bolta Hindustan, a Hindi language independent media platform, is now faced with a YouTube ban after the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gave a notice to Google’s legal team.

Allegations of press censorship arise as independent news platform Bolta Hindustan’s YouTube channel is banned just a week before India goes to vote.

The notice sent on April 3rd states that the Information Technology Act 2000 and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 has been violated. Furthermore, the notice is said to be confidential which means that it has not been disclosed why the channel has been banned. As per the channel, the ministry will give the final order soon.

The team at Bolta Hindustan has stated that it was only in 2023 that they could set up a YouTube channel which brought their news to a wider audience and by March 2024, they had accumulated nearly 80 million views and gained 300,000 subscribers, a remarkable number. However, after receiving a notice by Google on April 3, the channel was shut down the following day.

Journalist Samar Raj from Bolta Hindustan has asked whether the content of Bolta Hindustan is more dangerous than the communal environment created by those in power.

Interestingly, this is not the first instance of online news platforms being banned recently. On February 8, Sabrang India reported a platform managed by senior journalist Ram Dutt Tripathi named Media Swaraj was banned without any explanation. However, after much public outcry and an appeal, the channel resumed its broadcast on YouTube. Interestingly, YouTube is slated to be the most used source of news for 93 % of Indian internet users.

Haseen Rahmani founder of Bola Hindustan spoke to Sabrang India after the ban, saying “Those who give hate speech are free, but if you do a story on these givers of hate speech, then you are punished.”

He describes the events, “Two days ago, we received a confidential email from the Ministry of Broadcasting via Google’s legal team informing us that our YouTube channel has been banned, they did not tell us why as is routine. Our appeal has also been rejected. Two months ago, our Instagram account was banned, a year before that our Facebook.”

“Currently, we are first seeking clarification from YouTube and subsequently from the Ministry of Broadcasting (PIB). If we do not receive a response, we will only take the legal route forward. Our team is made of alumni from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), and is very familiar with media ethics and boundaries. We do not engage in incendiary content but present the truth. Interestingly, 90% of our channel’s stories are exclusive and not covered elsewhere by mainstream media – perhaps this is why they tried to ban our channel, they don’t want these stories to be shown. Hate speech is circulating freely. However, they will punish those who cover these stories of hate speech. They will punish the messenger.”

Several people on X, formerly Twitter, have written in support of the media portal, using the hashtag #RestoreBoltaHindustanYT.


A Hindi news media platform, Bolta Hindustan was reportedly started in 2015 when mainstream media took a nosedive. According to its website, the platform asserts that it is committed to bringing its viewers unbiased news. It was started by media students who wanted to bring to light stories that were ignored in the mainstream media.

From 2015 to 2024, Bolta Hindustan published many crucial stories that were path-breaking such as stories on demonetisation, CAA-NRC, Hathras, COVID-19, migration during the lockdown, mob lynchings, and ongoing hate speech across the country.


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