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MeitY invites comments on amendment proposed to ‘IT Rules’

Government to hold public consultation on proposed amendment of IT rules with respect to fact checking misinformation or patently false and untrue or misleading information on social media and other intermediary platforms

In pursuance of the Government’s commitment to ensure an Open, Safe and Trusted and Accountable Internet for citizens (Digital Nagriks), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has invited comments from stakeholders and general public on amendment proposed to rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules”) with respect to obligations of social media and other intermediaries regarding sharing of information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature.

Earlier, the Ministry had notified the IT Rules, 2021 to provide that social media and other intermediaries shall observe due diligence by making reasonable efforts to cause their users not to host, display, upload, modify, publish, transmit, store, update or share information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature. Under the proposed amendment, the due diligence by intermediaries shall include making such efforts to not upload, publish, transmit or share information identified as fake or false by the Fact Check Unit of the Press Information Bureau (https://factcheck.pib.gov.in/ and Twitter handle @PIBFactcheck), which takes cognizance of fake information both suo motu and by way of queries sent by citizens on its portal or through e-mail and WhatsApp and responds with correct information when the same pertains to the Government. In addition, it will also cover that information which relates to government business and which is identified by the Department concerned as false. The rules also in addition mention other agencies may be included in list of authorised agencies for such fact-checking in future by Govt

The Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar, said in this regard: “The draft amendments to IT Rules are in pursuance of our commitment to an Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable Internet. We have circulated amendments for consultation with stakeholders. As is the practice meticulously followed by Govt these amendments will also be put through open consultations – to reflect, discuss and deliberate on these amendments or any other such effective means through which we can prevent misinformation / patently wrong information circulated on the Internet by State/Non-State actors”

Ministry had earlier initiated public consultation on amendments proposed to the said rules in relation to online gaming, the last date for which was 17th January 2023. The last date for the same has now been extended to 25th January 2023.

The Ministry shall also hold a consultation on the proposed amendment to rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the IT Rules with stakeholders on 24th January 2023.

CT Bureau

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