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I&B Ministry, Intelligence Bureau told govt that IT Act does not allow regulation of online content: Report

The government's own legal advisers had also raised concerns about the new IT rules but they were overruled, reports said in May. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had both submitted in official documents that no existing law in India empowered the government to regulate online content and a new law must be legislated for this purpose, The Morning Context reported based on documents obtained under the Right to Information Act. Despite this objection, the government on February 25 went ahead and notified the Information Technology (IT) Rules 2021, which governs social media platforms, digital news publishers, and online streaming platforms. The government has repeatedly stated that the rules were issued under the existing powers granted by the Information Technology Act, 2000. However, the I&B Ministry prepared a draft cabinet note in July 2020 stating that the IT Act is not meant to regulate content on electronic devices and a new law is needed for this purpose. The Intelligence Bureau also found the IT Act to be inadequate to regulate online streaming and video platforms and wanted a “statute-backed regulatory framework” to address this issue, the report revealed. Currently, the new rules are being challenged in multiple courts across the country, with petitioners arguing the same. "The observations made by two important arms of the central government appear to confirm the validity of the criticism about the new IT Rules," the report stated. Office of Prime Minister involved The documents obtained by The Morning Context also…

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