Madras HC said, “The oversight mechanism to control the media by the government may rob the media of its independence.”
The Madras High Court on Thursday stayed the implementation of a key provision of the Information Technology Rules, 2021, enacted in May. The provision required setting up an oversight mechanism by the Central government to regulate social media and digital media platforms.
The operation of Rule 9(1) and 9(3) of the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules.
After Bombay High Court last month, the Madras High Court is the second high court to put key sections of the IT Rules on hold.
Meanwhile, other rules were challenged by the petitioners, including the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee under the grievance mechanism. Penalties for non-compliance with the rules, and blocking access to content, remain in force.
Conversely, several courts have already said that no coercive action taken against publishers who have not implemented the rules, NDTV reported.
Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavulu stayed the order.
“Prima facie, there is substance to the petitioner’s grievance that the oversight mechanism to control the media by the. Government may rob the media of its independence,” the bench reportedly said.
Rule 9 of the IT Rules mandates the setting up of a grievance redressal mechanism. Sub-Section 1 calls for establishing a portal by the Ministry of Information and Technology for receiving complaints against media platforms.
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