The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) last week ordered digital media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms to submit details of their regulatory compliance within 15 days.
The information will have to be provided under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, announced in February.
This is the first step in that direction since then. Until now, social media intermediaries Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube have not been held legally responsible for the content they transmit. They were seen as information carriers.
But we live in a digital world where information is transmitted at lightning speed and can also be misinterpreted and misused. Concern over the negative widespread propaganda of hate speech and false news has prompted the Indian government to take regulatory action.
By doing so, social media platforms can take advantage of the amenities of safe harbor. Basically, the new rules aim to make the platforms more accountable and accountable for the content they host.
Television media organizations and online print will be required to provide details of the title, language in which it is published, website URL, mobile apps and social media accounts. Publishers of online curated content must display the rating rating specific to each content or program.
Users should be informed of the nature of the content through a content description and, where appropriate, also provide advice on the viewer’s description. The program should start with this information.
The idea is that viewers can make an informed choice before watching the program. The OTT requirements are almost identical to those of the news publishers.
The only additional requirement is that OTT players must include foreign entities and the country in which they are registered.
Under the new IT rules, OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and social media companies operating in India will have to take extra care.
A local complaints officer should be appointed along with a chief compliance officer and a liaison officer at the nodes.
The purpose is to monitor the content on the platform and to respond to or respond to complaints. Compliance should include a three-pronged recovery framework to address citizens’ concerns.
This includes digital news publishers and self-regulatory bodies set up by them. Social media platforms with more than 50 lakh (5 million) users in the country are categorized as large.
These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, and homegrown Koo. They must publish details about the complaints officer on their apps and websites.
Prakash Javadekar Union Minister for I&B has said rules on social media and streaming companies have been tightened to end fake news.
The Ministry of I&B said the new rules had been announced by the Center to “establish a soft, progressive institutional mechanism with a level playing field with a code of ethics and a three-tier complaints mechanism framework for news publishers and OTT platforms on the digital media”.
The code of ethics prohibits content that compromises India’s sovereignty and integrity. The new guidelines state that content featuring nudity and distorted photos of women must be removed within 24 hours of a complaint being filed.
In response to the digital rules, Facebook has company WhatsApp has objected because it was thought it would disrupt the end-to-end encryption the company provides to users, in response, the Indian government has stated that it respects the “Right to Privacy” and has no intention of violating the right Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology, also reiterated that “none of the The measures proposed by India will affect the normal operation of WhatsApp in any way and there will be no impact on the common users.”
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued a statement that the government claimed it has no intention of violating the “Right to Privacy” when WhatsApp is required to disclose the origin of a particular message.
Twitter has expressed its views on the new rules. As reported in the media, Twitter is concerned about its employees in India and the threat to free speech.
The microblogging platform has appealed to the government to give it three months to comply with the new rules. The Delhi High Court has ruled that Twitter must abide by the guidelines.
Twitter has been given three weeks to register that it has appointed a local complaints officer and has complied with the 2021 IT rules. Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have come forward and have agreed to appoint statutory officers.
The digital media news platforms should adhere to the Press Council of India (PCI) standards of journalistic conduct. Global social media platforms have seen significant traction in India and their user presence continues to grow.
Government data shows that WhatsApp has nearly 53 crore users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook users, 21 crore Instagram users and 1.75 crore Twitter users in India.
(A crore = ten million) To clarify, the way people have used social media platforms should not change. However, they should be careful with the content they post.
If there are any compliance issues, they should be resolved promptly by the Complaints Officer, who resides in India.