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The government of India recently announced the new code of ethics under IT Rules, 2021 for social media platforms and OTT (Over the top) platforms. This has been framed by the government in exercise of powers under Section 87 (2) of the IT Act 2000 and in supersession of earlier IT (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules, 2011. In this article, we shall look at the key highlights of Guidelines for intermediaries and digital media ethics.
The notification basically contains rules that require the social media giants to take down unlawful content within a prescribed time period of being served either a court order or notice by a government agency.
Further, the notification permits social media platforms to work in India as the government wants, but they are required to follow the constitution and Indian Laws. The rules also empower common users of social media by embodying a mechanism for grievance redressal.
The rules regarding digital media ethics and OTT focus more on in-house and self-regulation. Moreover, the new guidelines for Social Media/intermediaries requires due diligence to be followed by intermediaries and additional due diligence for significant social media intermediaries.
As per the analysis regarding the social media platforms, the social media platform that has the highest number of user base includes-
The expansion of social media has empowered the citizens however it has also had some serious concerns and consequences.
As per the notification released by the government, the most important reasons for the introduction of these guidelines has been due to the-
All these above-mentioned cases has furthered the need for a new set of rules for intermediaries and digital media ethics.
Based on the number of users on social media, intermediaries have been divided into the following groups-
Further due diligence is to be followed by these intermediaries, and if intermediaries don’t follow due diligence, safe harbour provisions shall not apply to them. The safe harbour provision are defined under the IT Act and protects social media intermediaries by giving them protection from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms.
Further grievance redressal mechanism has been made mandatory. Intermediaries shall appoint a grievance officer in order to deal with complaints and share the name and contact details of the officers. Grievance officer is required to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve the same within 15 days from its receipt.
In order to ensure online safety and users’ dignity, intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints that comprises of contents that exposes the private parts of individuals, shows the individual in full or partial nudity or in sexual act, or is in the nature of impersonation.
These types of complaints may be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his or her behalf.
Read our article:RBI Grievance Redressal Mechanism in Banks: A Framework
If an intermediary receives information in the form of an order of the court or being notified by the government or its agencies through an authorized officer, it should not host or publish any information that is prohibited under law relating to the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, etc.
The new guidelines for intermediaries and digital media ethics has been notified. Part II of these rules shall be administered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, whereas Part III shall be administered by the Ministry of information and Broadcasting.
Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.
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