The Indian government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on Monday said that no takedown notice or any other action has been taken against any company after the new digital regulations came into effect earlier in May.
“No notice/orders for take down of content have been issued to any digital publisher for violation of the Code of Ethics (of the new IT Rules),” MIB Minister Anurag Thakur divulged in India’s Upper House of Parliament or Rajya Sabha.
The government notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on February 25, 2021 and had given companies three months time to comply with the regulations. While MIB administered the code of ethics for curated content, its counterpart Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology looked after the intermediaries and their carriage segments.
Asked by a fellow parliamentarian whether it was a fact that the Information Technology Act was an inadequate legislation for the regulation of online content and why has the government not anchored regulation in appropriate law, Thakur indirectly made it clear that the case was not so.
The Minister stressed: “(The) Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 contains several provisions relating to online content. Further, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, notified on 25th February 2021 under that Act provides for an adequate mechanism which inter-alia covers regulation of online content. Part-III of the Rules applies to all digital news publishers defined under the rules.”
Thakur went on to add that the new digital norms “ensures user safety and accountability of digital media platforms”, and specifically provides for the following:
# Intermediaries to follow certain due diligence as prescribed.
#Intermediaries to remove any unlawful content restricted in Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India as and when brought to their knowledge either through a court order or through a notice by appropriate government or its agency.
Still, several digital news publishers, including India’s biggest wire agency Press Trust of India, have filed petitions against the new regulations in various courts seeking relief, and the cases are in various unfinished stages.