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Centre points draft guidelines for regulation of content material on Social Media, OTT and different Media Platforms

The Central Government finalized the draft rules for the purpose of regulating the content telecasted, displayed or circulated on the social media intermediaries, OTT platforms, online news and other current affair websites.

The rules have been accumulated in the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The Rules consist of a Code of Ethics and a three-tier content regulation mechanism. All these have been introduced under the two-decade old Information Technology Act, 2000.

All the rules would come into force when the same is notified under the Official Gazette.

The Code of Ethics would basically be applicable on the publishers of the online content. The publisher would be supposed to take due caution while posting any content on its platform, and make sure that the same does not affect the sovereignty, integrity of India or endangers and jeopardizes the security of the nation.

The Code also includes the parameters based on which U or A certificate would be granted to the content. Moreover, the Ministry has also established a grievance portal, whereby the general public could raise and redress their issues.

Under the three-tier grievance Redressal framework, the grievances would be addressed by three entities; firstly by the entity itself, secondly by the self-regulating bodies of applicable bodies, and thirdly by the Central Government.

Apart from this, inter-departmental committee would also be formed, constituting members from different ministries like Defence, External Affairs, Law and Justice, etc.

The intermediaries would also be required to undertake due diligence and set up requisite posts for the same.

Overall, the guidelines have been drafted, keeping in mind the grievances put by the general public. Numerous petitions had been filed before the Apex Court and the High Courts requesting the Centre to formulate rules which could regulate content on the online content curators.

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