New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Saturday expressed deep concern over the newly issued intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics code (IT rules, 2021) by saying that they have the potential to seriously undermine media freedom in the country.
The EGI also expressed concerns that the reforms grant the government an overwhelming power “to block, delete, or modify published news anywhere in the country without any judicial oversight,” wrote EGI in its statement, adding that various provisions in these rules can place unreasonable restrictions on digital news media, and consequently media at large.
In creating the new reforms, the EGI wrote that the government did not consult stakeholders and therefore it must “put the rules in abeyance and conduct meaningful consultation with all stakeholders.”
“The government must take note of the fact that in the name of reining an unfettered social media it cannot overwhelm India’s constitutional safeguards for free media that has been the cornerstone of our democracy,” EGI said.
The central government on February 25 notified new guidelines for intermediaries in “soft touch oversight” rules and called for a three-tier regulation mechanism for OTT platforms like Netflix, YouTube, etc and required them to self-classify their content into five categories based on age suitability.