The New IT Rules Are a Hodgepodge of Hamfisted Regulations -Jawhar Sircar

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published Published on Mar 12, 2021   modified Modified on Mar 13, 2021

-TheWire.in

This new government oversight for streaming service content and online digital news is, put simply, an overkill.

Recent media reports note that the Supreme Court has observed that the new OTT (over the top technology) rules have no teeth, going on to add that some platforms even show pornography in the absence of effective oversight.

It has, therefore, directed the government to present rules that are more effective.

One expected that the Indian government’s counsel would mention Section 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act imposes severe punishment in such cases and that the teeth of the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics) Rules, 2021 are actually embedded in the mother law. Besides, as milords know better than us, the Indian Penal Code also provides for rigorous imprisonment of several years for offences that involve “circulation”, “distribution” or “public exhibition” of obscene materials.

On the other hand, the consensus that had emerged in the media is that the new rules are far too intrusive and may seriously constrict freedom of speech and expression. Besides, many are not convinced that the government has adequate competence to operationalise such wide-ranging controls by invoking bits and pieces of powers under Sections 69(2), 79(2), 87(1) and 8(2) of the IT Act.

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TheWire.in, 12 March, 2021, https://thewire.in/government/it-rules-ott-digital-media-hamfisted-regulations


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