The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has given an intermediary rules clarification. It has explained the scope the new IT (Intermediary guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Ministry has written to all Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of all Union Territories clarifying that powers under part III have not been delegated to the State governments, District Magistrates or Police Commissioners. The move comes after Paojel Chaoba, a journalist based in Manipur, was issued a notice by the District Magistrate to furnish documents ensuring compliance with the new IT Rules.
The power to make and administer any rules and guidelines in relation to part III of new intermediary guidelines are centralized with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India. This move is made to maintain uniformity in the rules for intermediaries across the territory of India. This is an important update to avoid any fragmented laws for online news and online curated content.
Applicability of Part III
Part III of the rules deals with the Code of Ethics and Procedure and Safeguards in Relation to Digital/Online Media. It is applicable to publishers of news and current affairs content, intermediaries which enable the transmission of news, publishers, and primary enablers of online curated content (OTT platforms).
Part III of Intermediary Guidelines
This code of Ethics includes five age-based categories. This part also defines a three-tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism with which intermediaries need to adhere. First, the establishment of a grievance redressal Officer by the companies in India; Second, an independent body comprising of applicable entities, and third, Oversight Mechanism. The Rules also require the furnishing of information by the publishers to the Government and periodic disclosure of information regarding grievance redressal.
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