'Rule on blocking contents not new, been since 2009'
New Delhi: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Saturday clarified that the provision in the new digital media guidelines to block internet content in a case of emergency nature has been around as a rule since 2009 and was not recently introduced.
Certain misgivings are being raised regarding Rule 16 under Part III of the guidelines which mention that in a case of emergency nature, interim blocking directions may be issued by the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, a ministry statement said.
"It is hereby clarified that this is not a new provision. For the past eleven years, since 2009, this provision has been exercised by the Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and IT under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009," it said.
Under the rules issued on February 25, this provision has only been replaced with Secretary, Ministry of I&B because Part III of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 would be administered by the I&B Ministry, the statement said.
"It is reiterated –no change in provision has been made nor any new provision has been added on blocking of content under Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021," the I&B ministry said.
The government on Thursday had said a 'code of ethics' and three-tier grievance redressal mechanism would be applicable for news publishers, over-the-top (OTT) platforms and digital media.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were announced at a joint press conference here by I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad earlier this week.
Meanwhile, a Maharashtra minister on Saturday opposed the central government's regulations for social media platforms and over-the-top (OTT) players, terming them as "dictatorial" and a "threat" to democracy.
The Minister of State forIT Satej Patil also said these regulations need to be opposed strongly as they infringe the privacy of individuals and free speech given by the Constitution.
"This move by the Centre needs to be fought tooth and nail. Such dictatorial regulations will not be accepted by the people of this democratic country," he said.