Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, during a press briefing on the new social media rules, said on Thursday that under the Code of Ethics for Online Media and Digital Media, publishers of Digital media news will be required to follow the Press Council of India’s Journalistic Conduct and Program Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act. This will provide a level playing field for all media platforms, including print, television and digital media, the government said.
The government has said the standards will put an end to “fake news”, which is prevalent in digital media. “Lately, very disturbing developments have been observed on social media platforms. The persistent spread of fake news has compelled many media platforms to create fact-checking mechanisms,” the Center said.
According to the government, there was widespread demand to frame a legal framework for digital news media. “There was a motion calling for attention to the misuse of social media and the spreading of fake news in the Rajya Sabha and the minister had conveyed home on 26/07/2018 the government resolution to strengthen the legal framework and make social media platforms accountable under the law, he had made this known after repeated requests from MPs for them to take corrective action,” a government statement said.
The new rules will establish a “flexible self-regulatory architecture and a three-tier code of ethics and grievance mechanism” for news publishers and OTT platforms and digital media, the government said.
To tighten the noose around social media and OTT platforms, the government has introduced new guidelines under the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Ethics). These guidelines will regulate social media and OTT platforms to ensure transparency, accountability and user rights, the government said.
The ministry pointed out that there are over 161 crore users on major social media platforms including Whatsapp, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. And while he welcomes social media platforms for doing business in India, he also stressed the need to uphold the Constitution and laws of India.
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