MIB grants registration to Kerala-based IDPCGC as SRB under IT Rules 2021

Apart from IDPCGC, the MIB has already granted registration to OTT self-regulatory bodies floated by IBDF and IAMAI

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Oct 11, 2021 8:34 AM  | 4 min read

The Digital Media division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has granted registration to Indian Digital Publishers Content Grievance Council (IDPCGC) as a self-regulatory body (SRB) under Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The IDPCGC has been formed by Kerala-based Confederation of Online Media India (COMI).

“The undersigned is directed to refer to the communication dated 13 August 2021 from Confederation of Online Media (India) on the above-mentioned subject and to convey the approval of the competent authority in the Ministry for registration "Indian Digital Publishers Content Grievance Council" (IDPCGC) as the Level Self Regulatory Body for publishers of news and current affairs content as per rule 12 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021,” MIB Deputy Secretary (Digital Media) Amarendra Singh said in a registration letter to COMI.

Dr. K.K.N Kurup, renowned historian and Former Vice-Chancellor of Calicut University, is the Chairperson of IDPCGC. Dr. George Onakkur, Former Director of Kerala State Bala Sahitya Institute; Former Director of Kerala State Encyclopedia, Former Chairman of State Resource Center, renowned novelist and story writer, James Joseph, Former Higher Secondary Director (Kerala); and Kerala University Controller, R. Gopikrishnan, Journalist, Vincent Joseph, President, COMI, Abdul Mujeeb, Secretary, COMI, and K.K. Sreejith, Treasurer, COMI are the members of IDPCGC.

In the registration letter dated 7th October, the MIB also noted that the IDPCGC shall perform functions laid down in the sub-rules (4) and (5) of rule 12 for the purpose of redressing grievances related to the Code of Ethics under the Rules. The body shall also ensure that the member publishers have agreed to adhere to the provisions of the Rules, including furnishing the requisite information under rule 18 of the Rules. Any change in the composition of the body and/or the membership of the publishers will have to be informed to the ministry as soon as such change takes place.

As many as 24 News Portals/Digital Platforms are associated with IDPCGC. These include expresskerala.comkeralaonlinenews.combignewslive.comsathyamonline.comkasargodvartha.comkvartha.comtruevisionnews.comgramajyothi.com, Vyganews.com, marunadanmalayalee.comeastcoastdaily.inazhimukham.commalayalivartha.commetromatinee.comfinancialviews.inwww.marunadantv.commalayalilife.com, Evartha.in, britishmalayali.co.uk, Moviemax.in, Nexttv.in, localglob.combignewskerala.com, and Sharepost.media.

Apart from IDPCGC, the MIB has already granted registration to OTT self-regulatory bodies floated by the Indian Broadcasting Digital Foundation (IBDF) and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The ministry has also said that 1,800 publishers have furnished information under Rule18 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Codes) Rules, 2021.

Recently, the MIB had requested digital news and OTT platforms to form self-regulatory bodies and seek registration from the ministry under Rule 12. For the purpose of registration, the self-regulatory body will have to inform the ministry regarding its composition, and the member publishers.

As per rule 11(2) of the IT Rules 2021, each publisher shall be a member of a self-regulatory body which will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights or such other relevant field, and have other members, not exceeding six, being experts from such fields. After constitution, the self-regulatory bodies shall register with the Ministry.

It is pertinent to note that the Madras High Court had recently observed that the order passed by Bombay High Court in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 case will have a Pan-India effect. The Bombay HC had stayed the operation of sub-rules (1) and (3) of Rule 9 of IT Rules 2021.

The Madras High Court made this observation while passing an order on petitions filed by vocalist TM Krishna and Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) against the IT Rules 2021. The Additional Solicitor-General representing the Union of India has also accepted that the Bombay HC order will indeed have a Pan-India effect.

The IT Rules 2021 have been challenged before Delhi, Bombay, Madras, and Kerala High Courts. The centre has filed a transfer petition in Supreme Court to transfer all the IT Rules cases from the High Courts to the apex court.

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