Regulators

Fake news on social media: Law & IT Minister favours evolving a policy

Future undecided for a MIB panel set up to explore online content regulations

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2018/07/26/SS_Ahluwalia-Ravi_Shankar_Prasad.jpg?itok=_q9Zqv_T

NEW DELHI: The Indian government seems to be speaking in two voices over the menace of fake news. While law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said he would hold talks with stakeholders to evolve a policy, his junior SS Ahluwalia on Wednesday had told Parliament that the government doesn't propose to bring in regulations for social media.

Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad informed the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) yesterday that he will hold discussion with stakeholders, including political parties, to evolve a policy to deal with the misuse of social media, according to a PTI report, which also quoted a government statement saying it has been conveyed to WhatsApp in "unmistakable terms" that it was a very serious issue that "deserves a more sensitive response".

The government yesterday also  shot off another notice to WhatsApp asking it to come out with effective solutions to curb the menace of fake news beyond just labelling forwards. It also warned the company that mediums used for propagation of rumours are liable to be treated as 'abettors' and can face legal consequences if they remain "mute spectators", the PTI report said.

Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been under fire from the Indian government over fake news and false information being circulated on its messaging platform. The government had in the past too issued a stern warning to the company to clamp down on hoax messages designed to "provoke" and "instigate" people.

"When rumours and fake news get propagated by mischief mongers, the medium used for such propagation cannot evade responsibility and accountability. If they remain mute spectators they are liable to be treated as abettors and thereafter face consequent legal action," a PTI report quoted an IT Ministry statement as saying. The ministry said it has approached WhatsApp to bring more effective solutions to the table, to ensure greater "accountability and facilitate enforcement of law" beyond the existing efforts towards labelling forwards and identifying fake news.

The Supreme Court, earlier this week, asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to effectively deal with incidents of mob lynching, saying "horrendous acts of mobocracy" cannot be allowed to become a new norm. 

“Government doesn't regulate content on social media sites": IT Ministry's SS Ahluwalia,  

On Wednesday, the Indian government admitted it doesn’t plan to regulate content on social media, as of now, despite the menace of fake news affecting the societal fabric. However, the government is quiet on the future of a committee set up under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) that has the mandate to explore regulation for online content, including those on OTT platforms.

“Government does not regulate content appearing on social media sites, and law enforcement and security agencies may take action on specific case to case basis as per law in force,” junior Minister for Electronics & Information Technology (MEITY) SS Ahluwalia informed Parliament on Wednesday, emphasizing that the government was fully “committed to freedom of speech and expression” and “privacy” of its citizens as enshrined in the Indian Constitution.

Ahluwalia was asked about the steps being taken by the federal government to address the problem of fake news and whether there were any plans to monitor and regulate social media content.

According to the Minister, the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 has provisions for removal of objectionable online content that was “harmful, defamatory, hateful, libelous, objectionable” and affected minors, apart from the national security.

However, as the Minister was not asked, he did not dwell on the future of  a committee ---comprising representatives of various government organisations and few industry bodies too --- set up under the MIB to explore online content regulations. The setting up of the panel was criticized as it was outside the remit of the MIB as the issue concerned came under the jurisdiction of MEITY.

The said committee, helmed by MIB Secretary, is reported to have met a few times since its formation, but the details of those meetings are not public yet. Nor is the fact whether it would be disbanded or taken out MIB’s jurisdiction in favour of MEITY.

MIB Stresses on Self-Regulation To Fight Fake News Menace On TV

On Thursday, MIB Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore stressed on existing safeguards in laws and self-regulation to say that there was also no proposal to indulge in pre-censorship of TV channels to stop them from allegedly spreading fake news.

“The [Cable Television Networks Regulation] Act [1995] does not provide for pre-censorship of any programmes and advertisements telecast on TV channels. However, it prescribes that all programmes and advertisements telecast on such TV channels should be in conformity with the prescribed Programme Code and Advertising Code enshrined in the aforesaid Act and the rules framed thereunder,” Rathore informed fellow parliamentarians who were concerned about some TV channels spreading fake news.

Earlier, MIB, under minister Smriti Irani, had attempted to bring in regulations to control fake news, which had to be aborted as the Prime Minister's Office intervened in the aftermath of nation-wide criticism. Still, some critics feel that the botched attempt to bring in rules to rein in media critical of the government was testing of waters for future norms.

Latest Reads

http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/12/TRAI-Story.jpg?itok=P16l-_NQ
TRAI releases paper on OTT expanding its definition

India’s telecom and broadcast regulator TRAI today released another consultation paper on OTT services seeking to expand the definition of the sector and also the regulator’s jurisdiction over a sector hitherto “unregulated”.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/09/mib_0.jpg?itok=4TdkBXLo
MIB extends feedback deadline date on mandatory sports feed sharing norms

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has extended the deadline to give feedback on the draft sports broadcasting signals (Mandatory Sharing with Prasar Bharti) (Amendment) Bill, 2018 till 31 December 2018.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/09/mib.jpg?itok=0MbRLtLR
MIB gives permission to two new channels - Khalsa and Nireekshana TV

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) after being lenient for couple of months in awarding channel licenses, is back to being strict. In the month of October, two new channels received licenses while none saw their licenses cancelled as on 31 October 2018.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/11/09/trr.jpg?itok=_x2jgTGm
TRAI, telco chiefs to meet in December over OTT regulation

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is scheduled to meet top executives of telcos in the month of December.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/31/sc.jpg?itok=AkHVHmXl
SC upholds TRAI Act over Copyright Act in tariff order case

The two-judge bench of the apex court with Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman and Navin Sinha dismissed the Star India’s appeal against Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recent tariff order. The principal area of the argument by the broadcaster was that the pricing of the content cannot be...

Regulators Supreme Court
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/31/Trai800.jpg?itok=P_Ll03H3
AIDCF welcomes Supreme Court judgement which upholds TRAI jurisdiction

In the matter of the new Tariff Order and Interconnection Regulations as notified by TRAI in March 2017, the Supreme Court has today upheld the jurisdiction of TRAI to frame the above mentioned regulations.

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/30/trai.jpg?itok=05UgkJtj
TRAI wins tariff order case in Supreme Court

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has come on tops in the long running battle between it and broadcaster, cable, DTH operators on whether it has pricing of content comes under its purview. The Supreme Court has finally given the long-awaiting verdict on Star India versus Telecom Regulatory...

Regulators TRAI
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/19/I%26B.jpg?itok=swj9cao5
MIB proposes to change mandatory sports feed sharing norms

In what could have far reaching effects on the financial viability of sports TV channels or streaming platforms, which acquire exlcusive rights for sporting events for the India region spending billions of dollars.

Regulators I&B Ministry
http://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2018/10/13/logo.jpg?itok=aKEOIe39
TDSAT asks SPN, Tata Sky to reach an agreement in 4 weeks

The Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has heard the case on the recent commercial dispute between Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and Tata Sky on a failed negotiation. TDSAT heard the case on 11 October and advised the parties to take four weeks to try and reach a mutually...

Regulators TDSAT

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories