Editors Guild seeks PM Modi’s intervention in revoking new digital media rules

The 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, the Guild said

Editors Guild seeks PM Modi’s intervention in revoking new digital media rules
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NH Web Desk

The Editors Guild of India has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s urgent intervention in revoking the new rules for digital media saying that the new rules can undermine freedom of press in the country.

The Guild had also sought an appointment with the Prime Minister 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 read.

“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,” the letter, addressed to the PM, said.

“A delegation of the Editors Guild of India will be happy to meet you to discuss these issues if you can spare some time,” it added.

The Guild had earlier written to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, flagging their concerns over the new rules.

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