On February 25, the government published its new rules under the Information Technology Act, 2009 bringing guidelines for internet intermediaries and digital media organisations. According to the government the basic essence of the Rules is to introduce a “soft touch oversight mechanism”, as it insists that platforms develop their own mechanisms to monitor and take down content, while building robust grievance redressal systems. The IT Rules, 2021 focus on, and impact, three separate sectors: All online Intermediaries and platforms, with a special emphasis on social media companies Online streaming services Digital news companies For social media companies, the new rules require platforms to allow identification of the originator of messages, which threatens the integrity of end-to-end encryption-based communication and privacy of individual users. For Over-The-Top streaming platforms, the government has proposed that the industry set up a self-regulation body headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court, and a grievance redressal system. For digital media companies and OTT platforms, the government has mandated compliance with a Code of Ethics. “All media platforms must have same justice system. Whether digital, print, TV or OTT, some rules have to followed. Some processes have to be set and the people have demanded them. Every day, I am getting many complaints on this,” I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said during a press conference on Thursday. MediaNama will be updating this post as and when more comments are received. Stakeholder statements The Mozilla Corporation said that the new rules undermine privacy and free expression in…
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