Provision of emergency interim blocking directions not new, clarifies govt

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The new guidelines prescribe how digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT streaming services will be regulated by the government. (AP)The new guidelines prescribe how digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT streaming services will be regulated by the government. (AP) 2 min read . Updated: 27 Feb 2021, 05:46 PM IST Staff Writer

Blocking directions provided by the secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been exercised since the last 11 years, said govt

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has said that the blocking directions provided by the secretary of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been exercised since the last 11 years under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

The ministry clarifies this after it was said that the interim blocking directions are issued under emergencies . "Certain misgivings are being raised regarding Rule 16 under Part III of the rules, which mention that in a case of emergency nature, interim blocking directions may be issued by the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting," the ministry said in a statement.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 released recently provide an institutional framework for news publishers and OTT platforms on the digital media ecosystem, the statement read.

It also said that the third part of IT Rules 2021 are administered by the I&B ministry due to which the reference to Secretary MeITY has been replaced by Secretary, I&B ministry.

"Since Part III of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 would be administered by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, that is why the reference to Secretary MeITY has been replaced by Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting," the ministry said. "There is no new provision which has been made," it added.

The Indian government on 25 Fe announced sweeping regulations for social media firm like Facebook and Twitter as well as OTT players such as Netflix, requiring them to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and setting up a complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country.

The guidelines also make it mandatory for platforms such as Twitter and WhatsApp to identify the originator of a message that authorities consider to be anti-national and against the security and sovereignty of the country.

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