HC stays 2 clauses of IT rules, says they may rob media of independence

1 month ago 17

CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Thursday stayed the operation of the oversight mechanism brought in through the new Information Technology Act Rules by the Centre, saying it may rob the media of its independence.
The HC said this while passing the interim order staying the operation of Rule 9 (1) and (3) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
Pointing out that a similar order has also been passed by the Bombay high court, the Madras HC said: "Indeed, there may have been no need to pass an independent order. However, it is submitted on behalf of the petitioners that notwithstanding the order passed by the Bombay high court, which ought to have a pan India effect, notices have been issued to the petitioners subsequently requiring them to adhere to the rules".
The issue pertains to two separate pleas moved by vocalist T M Krishna and Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) challenging the rules. Rule 9 (1) of the new IT rules states a publisher shall observe and adhere to the code of ethics and norms of conduct for journalists under the Press Council guidelines and Cable TV Code.
Rule 9 (3) relates to a three-tier structure to deal with complaints against publishers. Level III of this structure is an oversight mechanism by the Centre, while level I and II are self-regulation by publishers and self-regulating bodies of publishers.

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