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Government refuses to exempt the main media from the new IT rules, asks them to comply with its provisions | India News


NEW DELHI: The government has refused to exempt the digital news content of major television channels and print media from the scope of the IT Rules 2021 and called on them to take “urgent action” to immediately comply with the provisions of the Digital Media Rules.
The reason for including the organizations’ websites in the scope of the law is “well reasoned”, the ministry of information and broadcasting said in a clarification to publishers of digital news, publishers of curated content online or OTT platforms and associations. of digital media publishers on Thursday.
“Making any exceptions of the proposed nature will be discriminatory to digital news publishers who do not have a traditional television / print platform,” the ministry said.
The National Association of Broadcasters (NBA) had recently written to the ministry urging it to “exempt and exclude” traditional television news outlets and their widespread presence on digital news platforms in the information technology arena (Guidelines for intermediaries and Code of ethics of digital media) Rules 2021, saying that they are already “sufficiently regulated” by various statutes, laws, guidelines, codes and regulations.
“Given that the code of ethics requires that these digital platforms follow current content standards and regulations, which are in vogue in traditional print and television media, there is no additional regulatory burden for such entities. Consequently, the request for digital news exemption The content of such organizations cannot be accessed from the scope of the 2021 digital media rules, “the ministry said.
However, the ministry said, it does acknowledge that entities that have traditional print and television media are already registered with the government, either under the Press and Record Books Act or the 2011 uplink and downlink Guidelines.
“The digital version / digital publication of organizations that have traditional news platforms (TV and print) may be following the internal guidelines of self-regulatory bodies. Consequently, if organizations so wish, they can request the same self-regulatory bodies to serve as Level II of the self-regulatory mechanism, after ensuring consistency with the Digital Media Rules of 2021, “he said.
The ministry clarified that when any news and current affairs content from a digital news publisher is broadcast on an OTT platform, such content would be outside the regulatory responsibility of that platform.
“However, if any OTT platform receives a complaint related to such news and current affairs, it can transfer it to the interested publisher of that content. Consequently, there should be no apprehension for this reason either to the publishers of digital news or to the OTT platforms, “he said.
The ministry noted that television news channels already have a self-regulatory mechanism to resolve complaints related to violation of the program code under the Cable Television Networks Act of 1995 and its internal codes or guidelines.
“The Tier II requirement under the Digital Media Rules, 2021 is just an extension of an existing institutional practice. Furthermore, the composition of the self-regulatory body would be decided entirely by the publishers and the government has no role to play.” said the ministry.
“It is not stipulated or intended for the government to interfere with or obstruct the formation of the self-regulatory body, including its composition,” he added.
The ministry also dismissed concerns that the oversight mechanism stipulated in the digital media rules would lead to excessive government control over the operation of digital news publishers and OTT platforms.
In this regard, it can be mentioned that even today, with respect to traditional television channels, there is a control mechanism in the government through an interministerial committee (CMI), which attends to certain claims related to the violation of the Program Code. , a mechanism that has existed since 2005, “he said.
For the past 15 years, the IMC has made recommendations through advisories, warnings, etc. with respect to a large number of cases involving the content of news and non-news channels in relation to the Program Code and in almost all cases. TV channels have accepted the panel’s recommendations, the ministry said.
“The IMC mechanism has stood the test of time. The concept of an interdepartmental committee (IDC) is similar,” he said.
“Furthermore, level III is viewed as a residual level, insofar as complaints that are not addressed in the first and second levels would go to the IDC. Consequently, the apprehension of excessive government control through these mechanisms is out of place, “the ministry said. saying.
In the general context, digital news publishers and OTT platforms can comply with the 2021 Digital Media Rules without misunderstandings, he added.
“Editors can provide the required information in the prescribed format immediately, take urgent action to appoint a complaints officer, if not done, and place all relevant details in the public domain, constitute self-regulatory bodies by mutual consultation to that the complaints be directed at the editorial level or the self-regulatory bodies themselves, “the ministry said.
More than 500 publishers have already submitted their data in the required format, he added.

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