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Editors Guild says new IT Rules 2021 undermine press freedom

The Information Technology Rules 2021 has the potential to fundamentally alter how digital news publishers operate and can undermine the freedom of press in the country, the Editors of Guild of India (EGI) said in a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The apex body for editors in the country said that the new rules compromise the freedom of the press and therefore, has sought for the government to revoke the rules and facilitate meaningful consultations. The EGI has sent two letters to the government, both dated March 6, 2020, expressing concerns regarding the new IT Rules and how it impacts digital news organisations and publishers. In the second letter, addressed to the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, EGI acknowledged the challenges posed by the digital age and the need for self-regulation, but stated that the new rules pose grave concerns. "The most alarming aspect of these rules is the cumbersome three-tier structure to regulate digital media, with an “Inter-Departmental Committee” at the top, and excessive powers being given to a government officer to block, modify and delete content. Various other provisions in these rules can place unreasonable restrictions on digital news media, and consequently media at large. These rules have been brought in without due consultation with the stakeholders and deepen the worry that freedom of press in India is being seriously compromised"—Editors Guild of India letter dated March 6, 2021 to the Prime Minister The EGI has…

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