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Kerala HC grants interim stay to news channels against coercive action on IT Rules: Report

Currently, six petitions have been filed by various news outlets like The Quint, The Wire, PTI, and Live Law that are being heard at high courts across the country.  In a breather for news channels that have an online presence, the Kerala High Court has restrained the government from any coercive action against members of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) with regard to the Information Technology (Intermediary Liability and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the Press Trust of India reported. Justice PB Suresh Kumar issued notice to the government on the case. The Kerala High Court hasn't put its order in the case of The News Broadcasters Association v. Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, on its website yet. Apart from constitutional challenges, the NBA reportedly argued that the IT Rules 2021 would let the government perform judicial functions. The IT Rules require news organisations to: appoint a grievance officer; be a member of a self-regulatory body; have grievances against their content be subject to eventual government oversight if complainants are not satisfied with the outcome; publish a monthly report on grievances received; and adhere to press ethics codes and norms hitherto only applicable to TV channels and newspapers. Traditional news publishers have complained that the Rules shouldn't apply to them, a grouse the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has rejected, saying any additional relaxations to traditional media was unnecessary and discriminatory to digital-only publications. The Kerala High Court has emerged as the only high court that is restraining…

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