HomeCurrent affairsNew IT fact-checking unit will not censor journalism: IT Minister

New IT fact-checking unit will not censor journalism: IT Minister

According to a federal minister on Friday, the planned Indian government unit to fact-check stories on social media is not intended to control journalists or have any effect on media reporting.

According to the amended IT regulation, Online platforms like Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Twitter are required to “make reasonable efforts” to not “publish, share, or host” any material about the government that is “fake, false, or misleading.”

Press freedom groups vehemently oppose the government-appointed unit, while Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for IT, stated in an online conversation that it was “not true” that it was intended to “censor journalism.”

The Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021 were amended by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), on April 6, gave notification, which mandated the media and social media platforms to remove any government-related content that had been fact-checked and found to be false, fake, or misleading by the Center.

According to the modified IT Rules, 2021, all government-related information that has been fact-checked and found to be incorrect, fraudulent, or misleading must be removed by all intermediaries, including social media platforms.

The safe harbor protections provided by Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000, which exempts intermediaries from liability for content posted by users, may be lost by the intermediary if an Internet service provider (such as Airtel, Jio, etc.), social media platform (such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit, etc.), or other intermediary fails to take down the information pointed out by the fact-checking unit.

Even though, the Government claim that the new amendment aimed to educate consumers about fake websites and WhatsApp forwards, the Editor’s Guild of India, released a statement in which it stated that it was “disturbed” by the government’s action.


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