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Significance of New IT Rules, 2021 for Social Media

Source- The Indian Express

Syllabus- GS 3 – Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Synopsis- Government published IT rules for Social Media and OTT Platforms. Guidelines are for internet intermediaries and digital media organizations.

Introduction-

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology [MeitY] announced the new Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code.
  • The new Information Technology Rules, 2021, will bring social media entities and streaming services under a regulatory framework.

What are the key positives of the code?

The new regulations are addressing today’s toughest challenges on the internet. It clarifies the responsibilities of digital media intermediaries. Moreover, it will strengthen India’s position in digital policy and technical innovation.

  1. Balanced framework- The guidelines of the code clearly balance the needs of all stakeholders. It will ensure greater compliance with law and regulation.
  2. People, corporates, and startup welcome new code-
    • The rules of the code acknowledge citizen interest.
    • It protects the freedom of speech and expression of creators.
    • Furthermore, it encourages regional language communities.
  3. Proper grievance redressal mechanisms- A 3 level grievance redressal mechanism has been created under the rules.
    • Level 1 – Self-regulation by the publishers.
    • Level 2 – Self-regulation by the self-regulating bodies of the publishers.
    • Level 3 – Oversight mechanism.
  4. The code empowers every user of social media. It provides a mechanism for redressal and timely resolution of their grievance.
  5. Protecting Online Safety and Dignity of Users, Specially Women Users- Intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of the complaints.
  6. The guidelines also address a controversial and contemporary issue of arbitrary censorship by social network companies.
    • The code allows social media companies to operate in India and do business. However, they will have to be accountable to the Constitution and laws of India.
    • For example- Twitter violated Indian law by refusing to comply with government blocking orders.

Way forward-

  • Every country should have a clearly defined digital media policy. It will ensure there is a balance between democratic principles and internet protections.
  • The code aims to address peoples’ varied concerns. Also, It addresses the concerns about curbing creativity and freedom of speech and expression.
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