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Monday, August 02, 2021

‘Arbitrary, illegal’: Journalist Wagle moves HC against new IT rules for digital media outlets

The new rules for social media platforms and digital news outlets, called the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, came into effect May, this year.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: July 2, 2021 9:54:12 am
Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle (Photo Source: Twitter/@waglenikhil)

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle has moved a PIL in the Bombay High Court challenging the recently notified Information Technology Rules, 2021 under the Information Technology (IT) Act, terming them “arbitrary, illegal” and against the “principle of net-neutrality.”

The new rules for social media platforms and digital news outlets, called the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, came into effect in May this year.

The guidelines, announced in February, had asked all social media platforms to set up a grievances redressal and compliance mechanism, which included appointing a resident grievance officer, chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person.

The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology had also asked these platforms to submit monthly reports on complaints received from users and action taken on them. A third requirement for instant messaging applications was to make provisions for tracking the first originator of a message.

Wagle, in his petition filed on Wednesday through advocate Abhay Nevagi, submitted that the rules were not in consonance with the IT Act, which did not allow the executive to bring in “sweeping changes,” and were thus “against the law”.

The PIL said that the new rules were “arbitrary, illegal” and infringed upon fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. The petition also claimed that the new rules contradicted the principle of net-neutrality, which is adopted by all countries including India.

The HC will hear the PIL in due course.

 

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