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Exclusive: MIB says traditional news cannot be exempted from IT Rules; OTT services need not fret over news livestreams

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) said in a letter to streaming services and news organisations on June 10 that traditional news organisations with an online presence cannot be exempted from complying with the IT Rules. MediaNama obtained this communication through an RTI application. Kshitij Aggarwal, Assistant Director of Digital Media at the ministry, argued in the five-page letter that traditional news organisations need not worry as the Rules merely extend obligations they already adhere to, and as far as grievance redressal is concerned, they could simply retrofit their TV/print self-regulatory bodies to cover online content as well. Recap: The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 require news organisations to appoint a grievance redressal officer, adhere to media laws that already cover television and print media, and submit to a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism. The letter does not seem to have convinced traditional news publishers —  the Digital News Publishers Association, which despite its name represents only traditional news media companies with a digital presence — approached the Madras High Court after this letter was sent, calling the Rules unconstitutional. The court on Wednesday issued notice on this application. Another petition against the Rules filed a couple weeks prior by the Internet Freedom Foundation and Carnatic singer TM Krishna has been tagged with the DNPA's petition. "No new or additional compliance" Traditional media already required to comply with key asks: "The Code of Ethics laid down under the Digital Media Rules, 2021 provide that the…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

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