Journalists write to Smriti on regulation concerns for online media

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New Delhi, May 2: Expressing concern over the proposal to regulate online media content, a group of over 100 journalists and online media professionals on Tuesday wrote a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani.

According to Economic Times report, Over hundred journalists have sent letters to Information & Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani, and other concerned ministries with their arguments on the proposal.

The letter highlights that bringing legacy media structures such as licensing and content regulation to the online space could have a drastic impact on the medium credited for making the media and information landscape free and democratic across the globe.

The Ministry in its April 4 dated order had said that it has decided to constitute a panel that will frame rules to regulate news portals and media websites.

“There are no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals. Therefore, it has been decided to constitute a committee to frame and suggest a regulatory framework for online media/ news portals including digital broadcasting and entertainment/ infotainment sites and news/ media aggregators,” it had stated.

Citing this, the letter written by scribes pointed unlike the ministry’s assertion that there are no norms and guidelines for content on the Internet, the IT Act states that all content is covered under its scope.

“The Act in fact goes beyond laying down guidelines, and incorporates stiff punishments for those who violate the content norms laid down in it. Similarly, several other laws, such as the Indian Penal Code, also contain clear dos and don’ts for sharing of content, including over the Internet. Therefore, to say that there are no norms and guidelines for content online is contrary to facts,” the Journalists letter stated.

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