Registration is not needed for digital news platforms under IT Rules, says Anurag Thakur
The minister added that 1800+ digital news publishers have furnished information sought by the ministry
For Print Media, the Press Council of India has framed 'Norms of Journalistic Conduct' under the Press Council Act, 1978, For Television, the Programme Code under Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, 1995. For Social Media and Digital News Publishers, the Government has notified Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 under the provision of IT Act, 2000, which inter alia provides for due diligence by intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, and for a Code of Ethics for adherence by digital news publishers.
Further, a Fact Check Unit has been set up under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) of this Ministry in November 2019. This Unit takes cognizance of fake news both suo-motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and WhatsApp. The Unit responds to the relevant queries with correct information when the same pertains to Central Government or forwards them to States/UTs in other cases.
"PCI has informed that in six such cases punitive action has been taken during January 2020-January 2021. Further, PIB Fact Check Unit has responded to over 25000 actionable queries. Besides, action has been taken against 12 TV channels for telecasting false, defamatory programmes etc. in violation of Rule 6(1)(d) of the Programme Code during the years 2018-2021. Election Commission has informed that during Lok Sabha Election 2019 and all Legislative Assembly Elections held after that, 167 cases of fake news/ misinformation have been reported to Social Media Platforms for removal of content," Thakur said.
Thakur also said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) through the Information Security Education & Awareness (ISEA) programme created awareness among users highlighting the importance of following the ethics while using the Internet and advising them not to share rumours/fake news.
He also listed down steps taken by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and industry bodies to tackle fake news during the elections. "Ministry of Home Affairs has informed that law enforcement agencies regularly monitor the social media against the misuse of platforms for circulation of misleading information and take legal action against the offender under the relevant acts," he stated.
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