Government challenged by the Indian media house over new IT rules


The government and media houses are fighting in Indian courts over new IT laws that many in the Indian media have deemed invasive and infringing on the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.
According to the government, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 introduced a three-tier framework for redressing grievances for any news organization with a digital presence.
The third level of the system, which involves the federal government and gives authorities the authority to remove information, has caused concern among media organizations, both large and small.
According to legal website Livelaw, the Press Trust of India, India’s largest news agency, stated in a petition to the Delhi High Court that the regulations “usher in a new era of surveillance and terror” and “self-censorship…which leads in abridgment/violation of Fundamental Rights.”
The news agency is one of a slew of media outlets, including online news portals, that have filed separate challenges to the rules in the country’s several high courts. They’ve also challenged the restrictions on the basis that the parent statute, the Information Technology Act of 2000, didn’t deal with news media, implying that the current law shouldn’t either. They said that news websites, streaming services, and social networking sites should not be grouped.
“As written, these regulations appear to be an attempt to scare the news industry into self-censorship, in addition to entrusting the government with overbroad powers over news content,” the Times of India said in an editorial on July 11. The Times of India is a founding member of the Digital News Publishers Association, a fighting IT group. “News publishers have every reason to be concerned about arm-twisting and coercion,” the newspaper stated. India, like other countries, has sought to restrict social media material due to national security concerns and the spread of child pornography.


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