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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

NBA challenges new IT rules in Kerala HC

The NBA noted that the “Grievance Redressal Mechanism created, and the powers delegated have a ‘chilling effect’ on the content of the media”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
July 10, 2021 6:02:09 am
The NBA said that during the hearing on Friday, its lawyer submitted that the new IT rules are ultra vires of the IT Act 2000 “in so far as the IT Act did not give the government the powers to regulate content”.

ADDING TO the series of legal challenges to the new IT rules, notified by the government in February, which brought content on online news and OTT platforms under the regulatory ambit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the News Broadcasters Association, one of the largest industry bodies of TV news channels, has filed a writ petition in Kerala High Court challenging it.

The NBA noted that the “Grievance Redressal Mechanism created, and the powers delegated have a ‘chilling effect’ on the content of the media”.

In a statement issued on Friday, the NBA said it has challenged the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules on the grounds that they “give the government authorities excessive powers to unreasonably and impermissibly restrict the freedom of speech and expression of the media”. The new IT rules are also violative of Article 14 and Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, it said.

The NBA said the primary challenge is to Part 3, Code of Ethics and Procedure and Safeguards in relation to Digital Media, of the new IT rules as they create “an Oversight Mechanism giving the Executive unfettered, unbridled and excessive powers to regulate content of digital news media”.

The NBA said that during the hearing on Friday, its lawyer submitted that the new IT rules are ultra vires of the IT Act 2000 “in so far as the IT Act did not give the government the powers to regulate content”. The court passed an order in “favour of NBA and its members,” the statement said, and “no coercive action can be taken against the Members of NBA for not implementing/ complying” with Part 3 of the Code of Ethics And Procedure and Safeguards in relation to Digital Media of the IT Rules 2021.

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