Delhi High Court Asks Centre to Reply to Plea Challenging New IT Rules

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The Delhi High Court on Friday sought the Centre’s response on a plea challenging the new Information Technology rules which seek to regulate digital news media. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jasmeet Singh issued notices to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and granted them time to file their responses.

The court listed the plea filed by Quint Digital Media for further hearing on April 16, along with another similar petition which was filed earlier by the Foundation for Independent Journalism and The Wire.

According to amended IT rules, social media and streaming companies will be required to take down contentious content quicker, appoint grievance redressal officers, and assist in investigations.

While releasing the new rules, the government said that publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, providing a level-playing field between the offline (print, TV) and digital media.

“Digital media portals have no right to spread rumour. Media’s freedom is absolute but with reasonable restrictions. Content matter, especially media, OTT, and digital media will be administered by I&B ministry. Intermediary platforms monitoring will be done by the IT ministry in the manner they have been doing it,” Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar said.

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