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Central Government notifies Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 - (25 Feb 2021)

Media and Communication

Central Government introduces Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 for digital content, social media companies and OTT platforms. The new changes include strict oversight mechanism and ban from telecasting content that affects “the sovereignty and integrity of India” and which threatens National security. The New Rules prescribe due diligence that must be followed by social media intermediaries. The Rules empowers the ordinary users of digital platforms to seek redressal for their grievances and command accountability in case of infringement of their rights.

Further, the Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving and resolving complaints from the users or victims. Intermediaries have to appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt. The Rules aims to ensuring Online Safety and Dignity of Users, especially Women Users. A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the Rules with different levels of self-regulation.

Issues relating to digital media and OTT and other creative programmes on Internet is to be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but the overall architecture shall be under the Information Technology Act, which governs digital platforms. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting shall formulate an oversight mechanism. Ministry has to publish a charter for self-regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices. It shall establish an Inter-Departmental Committee for hearing grievances. The Rules establish a Code of Ethics and grievance redressal mechanism for news publishers and OTT Platforms and digital media.


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