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Draft IT rule amendments to impact press in India: Indian Newspaper Society

INS has asked the ministry to drop the proposed amendment

IT ministry | Press Information Bureau | Newspaper

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

IT Rules

The Indian Society on Tuesday expressed concern over the proposed draft amendments to the Information Technology Rules 2021 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

The concerns in particular pertain to Clause 3(1)(b)(v), which identifies the (PIB) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, or any other agency authorised by the central government, as the body responsible for checking the factual accuracy of reports appearing on any social media intermediary in respect of any business of the central government.

"The Society is of the view that the proposed amendment will seriously impact the functioning of the press in India, and hand over the responsibility of checking statements relating to the central government to an agency of the central government and imbue it with the power of the law. This can give rise to mischief as it will allow the central government to arm itself with powers to proscribe any criticism of its actions," it said.

"By its own definition, the 'is the nodal agency of the Government of India to disseminate information to the print and electronic media on government policies, programmes, initiatives and achievements'," it added.

It said that the step would "effectively muzzle criticism and even fair comment".

It further asked the ministry to drop the proposed amendment.

"It asks that the Ministry initiate consultations with stakeholders to create a mechanism which, while ensuring factual accuracy of reports about the government's business on media sites, meets the highest standards of fairness and due process. The PIB or an agency of the central government is ill-equipped to play this role," it said.

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First Published: Tue, January 24 2023. 14:20 IST