India’s IT Rules, 2021, that govern digital news media organisations had received much criticism for the overbearing restrictions placed on online platforms with respect to content monitoring, and grievance redressal measures.
Currently, the fact-check amendment to the IT Rules, proposed by the government in January, has been challenged in the Bombay High Court. The amendment empowers a fact-check unit or any other government-authorised agency to at the Press Information Bureau to flag “fake” or “false” content and intermediaries are obligated to conduct proactive monitoring to check if such content is not being carried on their platforms.
The IT Rules have also put in place a three-tier grievance redressal system including a provision for a self-regulatory mechanism. The grievance redressal system also includes an inter-departmental Oversight Committee to hear grievances that have not been resolved in Level I and II. This committee can require content providers to reclassify their content’s age rating, edit the synopsis, or apologize. Complaints can also be referred to Level III for blocking or censoring under Section 69A of the IT Act.
In addition to the IT Rules, in 2019 the government had also capped the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limit at 26 percent for digital media news aggregators. The directive was issued by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade without clarifying the definition of digital media. The policy inhibits the growth of Indian digital media platforms that utilise foreign direct investments.
In this video, we highlight the Indian laws and rules that restrict digital media platforms.
Watch the video for key points:
- Five Ways In Which The Indian Government Has Restricted Digital Media
- Indian Govt Says OTT Platforms Hosting News Channels Are Different From News Aggregators, But Are They?
- Government tells social media platforms to control misinformation and discourage fake news: Report
- How Indian govt’s press bureau might soon be able to censor content on social media
- Quick take: India’s new news censorship rule is undemocratic