IT Rules: Centre Issues Key Clarification To States Regarding Digital Media Ethics Code

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I & B) on Wednesday wrote to the state Chief Secretaries and Administrators of all union territories with an important clarification regarding the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The letter states that the powers under Part III of the rules are to be administered by the Union I & B Ministry. The letter underlines the point that these powers have not been delegated to the state governments, district magistrates or police commissioners.

The letter has clarified the provisions of the rules under Part III, which relate to publishers of digital news and current affairs and publishers of online curated content (OTT platforms).

It has been explained that the rules provide for a Code of Ethics to be followed by digital news publishers and publishers of OTT content, which includes five age-based classification. Further, the rules require a three-level Grievance Redressal Mechanism consisting of the publisher (Level-1), self-regulating body constituted by the publishers (Level-II) and an Oversight Mechanism of the Government (Level III), with time bound grievance disposal mechanism.

The rules also require furnishing of information by the publishers to the Government and periodical disclosure of information regarding grievance redressal in public domain.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under Information Technology Act, 2000 were notified on February 25, 2021.

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