Editors Guild of India raises doubts over Centre's media ethics code

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Saturday raised serious concerns over the Centre’s notification of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 issued last week. According to EGI, these regulations will “fundamentally alter” and put “unreasonable restrictions” over digital media and therefore urged the government to take back these rules.

The EGI said that the government cannot “overwhelm India’s constitutional safeguards for free media.”

The new rules, “fundamentally alter how publishers of news operate over the Internet and have the potential to seriously undermine media freedom in India,” it added. The EGI statement read: “They empower the Union Government to block, delete, or modify published news anywhere in the country without any judicial oversight and mandate all publishers to establish a grievance redressal mechanism.”

The EGI said that the government did not consult stakeholders and therefore it must “put the rules in abeyance and conduct meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.”

The Centre on February 25 notified new guidelines, saying these were needed to hold social media and other companies accountable for “misuse and abuse”. The government’s new rules called for a three-tier regulation mechanism on OTT platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix, YouTube, etc.

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