At least five news organisations and aggregators— Scroll, The Wire, Newslaundry, The News Minute and DailyHunt — launched grievance portals on their respective websites and have appointed grievance officers in accordance with the Indian government's new regulations for news publishers and intermediaries. Under the Information Technology Rules 2021, the government expanded its executive powers to oversee news and current affairs content published online. Under the rules, every news and current affairs publisher has follow a strict grievance redressal mechanism and join a self-regulatory mechanism. They have to appoint a grievance redressal officer who who will have to respond to a grievance and make a decision within 15 days. If the complainant is unsatisfied with how their grievance was handled, they can raise the issue with a SRO or a government appointed Inter-Departmental Committee. The committee, which is headed by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B), can take action against publishers for the news and current affairs content they publish or broadcast. The new rules extend the government’s powers under Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000, to block internet content and reprimand publishers in the interests of “sovereignty, integrity, defence of India and security of the State or preventing a cognisable offence.” They government can issue orders against news aggregators and publishers, which can either ‘warn, censure, admonish, reprimand, demand an apology, require a warning card or disclaimer, delete or modify' content.’ This will be based on grievances received by the publisher, the SRO or the I&B Ministry from the…
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