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Rule on blocking content been around since 2009: Government defends digital media guidelines

Misgivings are 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, Centre said.

Published: 27th February 2021 08:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2021 08:15 PM   |  A+A-

Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar

Union Environment and I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar (Photo| PTI)

By PTI

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.



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