- Social media platforms were asked for similar reports yesterday
- Rules bring in Code of Ethics, three-tier grievance redressal
- Law brings news websites under the rules for Press Council
Online news publishers and OTT platforms have been given 15 days by the Information and the Broadcasting ministry to provide details on compliance with the new digital media rules issued in February. Yesterday, social media platforms were asked for similar compliance reports and given 24 hours. Several platforms have filed appeals that are pending in various courts.
In February, the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 had outlined for the first time how digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT streaming services like Netflix will be regulated by the government.
While notifying the rules, the government said it wanted to establish "soft touch progressive institutional mechanism with level-playing field" featuring a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework for news sites and OTT platforms.
Accordingly, all digital media sites will have to have a complaint resolution system where compliance officials will work on complaint resolution, monitor and remove objectionable content and issue compliance reports.
The law had brought the digital news media under the rules of the Press Council. New websites were required to get registered on the Information and Broadcasting Ministry site.
For news sites, the rules involve self-regulation by the publishers, self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers and finally an oversight mechanism.
The oversight mechanism, formulated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, will publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices, the Centre said. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances.
The government will also designate an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the "Authorised Officer" who can direct blocking of content.
Amid criticism of the new laws by rights organisations, the government had said the proposed framework is "progressive, liberal and contemporaneous".
"It seeks to address peoples' varied concerns while removing any misapprehension about curbing creativity and freedom of speech and expression," the government had said.