The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has expressed deep concern over the notification on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.
“The rules, issued under the Information Technology Act, 2000, fundamentally alter how publishers of news operate over the Internet and have the potential to seriously undermine media freedom in India,” EDI said in a statement.
The rules empower the Union govemment to block, delete, or modify published news anywhere in the country without any judicial oversight and mandate all publishers to establish a grievance redressal mechanism, aid the statement, issued by EGI president Seema Mustafa, general secretary Sanjay Kapoor and treasurer Anant Nath.
Various provisions in these rules can place unreasonable restrictions on digital news media, and consequently media at large, it said.
The EGI is concerned that the government did not consult stakeholders before notifying these far-reaching rules.
The Guild has urged the central government to put the rules in abeyance and conduct meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.
“The government must take note of the fact that in the name of reining an unfettered social media it cannot overwhelm India’s constitutional safeguards for free media that has been the cornerstone of our democracy,” EDI further said.