With a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redress system for news websites and OTT channels, the government officially revealed new rules to control digital content and create what is called a “soft touch progressive institutional process with a level playing field.” The rules would empower people on social media, said IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad of the Union.
The 2021 Rules of Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and the Digital Media Ethics Code) prescribe, for the first time, how the government can control digital news organizations, social media sites, and OTT streaming services.
The laws include a stringent supervisory process involving a variety of ministries and a code of ethics prohibiting content that affects “India’s sovereignty and independence” and undermines national security.
More about The Regulations By Government:
The leaders of social media will be forced to name enforcement officers based in India according to the Indian government. They will be expected to notify users if they delete content, offer reasons to take down their posts, and hear them out.
On popular social media sites, the rules make traceability of the message originator a must, which goes against end-to-end authentication on messaging apps like Whatsapp and Signal. “Who began the mischief? You have to say,” said Mr. Prasad.
A committee with members from the ministries of Defense, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT and Women, and Child Development will be included in the oversight process.
This committee would have “suo motu powers” if it wishes to call hearings on charges of violations of the Code of Ethics. In addition to other acts, the panel can advise, censure, admonish or repress violators, demand an apology.
An officer of the rank of Joint Secretary or above shall be appointed by the government as the “Registered Officer” who can direct the blocking of material.
The regulations compel streaming platforms such as Netflix and Prime Video, which objected to the hearing of streaming complaints by an independent appeals body. It also listed a thorough description of the content on the basis of age, sex, violence, and nudity.
If the appeal body agrees that the content breaches the law, it is authorized to submit the material for blocking orders to be given to a government – controlled committee.
The Code of Ethics will contain, within the framework of the Press Council of India, the principles of journalistic behavior.
On the Information and Broadcasting Ministry website, new websites would have to be recorded.