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5 Things that Are Wrong With India’s Proposal to ‘Curb Misinformation’ Online

Anything ‘fact checked’ as “fake” by the government’s own press bureau must be taken down by platforms, and this is bad

What's the news?: Platforms will not be allowed to host information fact-checked to be "fake" or "false" by the Indian government's Press Information Bureau (PIB) according to a proposal released by the IT Ministry on Tuesday. Other agencies or departments of the Indian government may also be authorised to fact-check information online. What does this mean?: To comply with India's platform regulation laws, platforms may have to proactively take down any information, including news, "fact-checked" to be "fake" by the Indian government's agencies. Where were these proposals introduced?: The proposal was quietly included in India's IT Rules as the government extended the public consultation deadline for the online gaming rules from January 17th to 25th. Feedback can be submitted here. To jog your memory: the government already proposed changes to these platform regulation rules to regulate the online gaming sector earlier this month. Five concerns with the rules: Insufficient time: While the public had nearly three weeks to compile feedback on the online gaming amendments, it has barely a week to respond to this amendment. As Internet Freedom Foundation notes, it is likely that many may have already submitted their comments by the earlier January 17th deadline, before this amendment was suggested. Government censorship: The proposed amendment may allow for censorship of any information determined to be "fake" by a government agency. Newslaundry adds that PIB's fact-checking unit has flagged articles critical of the Indian government. Lack of safeguards: No safeguards have been built into the amendment to prevent its misuse, promote transparency…

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