States not empowered to issue notices to digital media, OTT platforms: I&B Ministry

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New Delhi, 03 March: The Central Government has written a letter to the states clarifying that the Central Government only has the authority to issue notices to digital media and online broadcasters under the new Information Technology (IT) Guidelines. State governments, district magistrates and police commissioners have no power in this regard.

According to an official release, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has today written a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and administrators of all union territories clarifying that Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediate Institutions and Digital Media Code of Conduct) The powers under Part 3 of the Rules, 2021 are administered by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The letter also underlines that these powers have not been delegated to state governments or district magistrates or police commissioners. It has also been requested that this information be brought to the notice of all concerned persons in the States and Union Territories. These rules were notified on 25 February 2021.

It is noteworthy that under the rules, those providing digital news and OTT content must follow a code of conduct. This includes classifying the content into five age-based types and ensuring that that category has access to the content. In addition, a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism has to be created as per these rules. This would include publishers, self-regulating bodies set up by publishers, and government monitoring mechanisms. Timely disposal of complaints will have to be done.

According to the rules, publishers will have to submit information to the government and disclose information about grievance redressal in the public domain from time to time.

The provisions of the rules under Part-3 have been re-clarified through this letter.

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