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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Editors Guild of India calls upon PM to revoke digital media rules

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to call back the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The apex body of editors noted that the new rules undermined the freedom of the press in the country and has sought an appointment with the PM to discuss the matter.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, the guild has noted that the new rules undermine the freedom of the press in the country and has sought an appointment with the PM to discuss the matter. “We are deeply concerned about the notification of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The Rules, issued under the Information Technology Act, 2000, have the potential of fundamentally altering how publishers of news operate over the Internet and undermine freedom of press in the country,” the letter dated March 6 reads.

“The most alarming aspect of these rules is the cumbersome three-tier structure to regulate digital media, with an ‘Inter-Departmental Committee’ at the top, and excessive powers being given to a government officer to block, modify and delete content.       

“Various other provisions in these rules can place unreasonable restrictions on digital news media, and consequently media at large. These rules have been brought in without due consultation with the stakeholders and deepen the worry that freedom of press in India is being seriously compromised,” it added.

“Given your public commitment towards protecting freedom of speech and expression in India, we urge your urgent intervention in revoking these rules and for facilitating meaningful consultations with all stakeholders for a constructive approach, which is in line with the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and expression. A delegation of the Editors Guild of India will be happy to meet you to discuss these issues if you can spare some time,” the letter states.

The guild had earlier drawn the attention of Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to the matter.

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