The Editors Guild of India has called on the government to put the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 in abeyance, saying the guidelines can undermine media freedom.
In a statement on Friday, the EGI said it was “deeply concerned” about the recent notification of the rules and asked the government to consult the stakeholders.
“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. They empower the Union government 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,” the EGI said.
It said some provisions of the rules could put unreasonable restrictions on digital news media.
“The EGI is concerned that the government did not consult stakeholders before notifying these far-reaching rules. The Guild urges the 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 constitutional safeguards for free media that has been the cornerstone of our democracy,” the EGI said.