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If IT Regulations Phrasing Impacts Media Work, We're Prepared: Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Mos

Jun, 2023

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The  Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) is open to revising the phrasing of the newly proposed IT rules if it adversely impacts the work of the media.

Speaking to the media, Chandrasekhar clarified that the government's intention is not to curtail the freedom of expression of journalists or restrict their work, but rather to provide a safe and secure digital ecosystem for all stakeholders, including media platforms and consumers.

The new IT rules, which were introduced in February 2021, require social media intermediaries to comply with certain guidelines, including appointing a grievance redressal officer, a chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person. These intermediaries are also required to remove any unlawful content within 36 hours of receiving a complaint.

While the rules have been welcomed by some stakeholders, several media organizations have expressed concerns about their potential impact on the freedom of the press. Some critics have also argued that the rules give the government sweeping powers to regulate online content.

Chandrasekhar, however, dismissed these concerns, stating that the new rules are necessary to prevent the spread of fake news and hate speech, which can have serious consequences, especially in a country as diverse as India.

He added that the government is willing to work with media organizations to ensure that the new rules do not impede their work. "We are open to revisiting the phrasing of the rules if there are genuine concerns that need to be addressed," he said.

Chandrasekhar also urged media organizations to engage with the government and provide feedback on the rules. "We are open to constructive criticism and feedback from all stakeholders, including media platforms," he said.

The minister's comments come amid growing concern among media organizations about the impact of the new IT rules on their work. Several media outlets, including The Wire and The News Minute, have challenged the rules in court, arguing that they violate the right to freedom of speech and expression.

In conclusion, the government is willing to address concerns raised by media organizations regarding the impact of the new IT rules. The minister's statement shows the government's commitment to providing a secure digital environment while ensuring that the freedom of the press is not curtailed. It remains to be seen whether these concerns will be effectively addressed in the coming days.

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