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Delhi HC seeks response on petition against new IT Rules

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Delhi HC seeks response on petition against new IT Rules:


Context:

The Delhi High Court has sought a response from the Centre on a petition challenging the new IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, claiming it seeks to regulate online news portals by imposing government oversight and a vaguely worded ‘Code of Ethics’.

What’s the issue?

The new IT Rules laid down a separate ‘Code of Ethics’ for the two kinds of publishers — publishers of news and current affairs content, and publishers of online curated content.

  • However, the parent (IT) Act does not recognise digital news media as a separate category of entities and does not seek to subject them or their content to any set of special regulations.
  • The content to be regulated by the parent Act, as offences, was limited to sexually explicit material, child pornography, showing private parts of individuals, cyber terrorism, etc. to be prosecuted and tried by normal courts.

Concerns:

It said the new IT Rules had “profound and serious harms for digital news media” and was destructive of their rights.

  • The new rules violated Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression).
  • It also deprived the intermediaries of their “safe-harbour protections” under Section 79 of the IT Act.

Background:

The IT Rules, 2021, introduced two distinct sets of regulations — one, due diligence norms to be followed by ‘intermediaries’ and two, ‘Code of Ethics’ ought to be adhered to by ‘publishers’, along with a three-tier compliance mechanism.

Sources: the Hindu.