Withdraw ‘ draconian ‘ amendments to IT rules : Editors Guild

New Delhi : The Editors Guild of India on Friday said it was ” deeply disturbed ” by the ” draconian ” amendments to the Information Technology Rules that gave the government ” absolute power ” to deter mine fake news .

In a statement here , the Guild urged the government to withdraw the Information Technology ( Inter me diary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code ) Amendment Rules and hold consultations with media organisations and press bodies , as it had promised earlier .

The Guild said as per the rules , the IT Ministry has given itself the power to constitute a ” fact checking unit ” , which will have have sweeping powers to deter mine what is ” fake or false or misleading ” , with respect to ” any business of the Central 11 Government . “

Withdraw ' draconian ' amendments to,

The ministry has also social empowered itself to issue instructions to ‘ intermedia arise ‘ ( including media intermediaries , Internet Service Providers , and other service providers ) , to not host such con tent , the Guild said .

” In effect , the government has given itself abs lute power to determine what is fake or not , in re sect of its own work , and order take down , ” the state mint said .

The Guild said there was no mention of the governing mechanism for such a fact checking unit , the judicial oversight , the right to appeal , or adherence to the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India in Shreya Singhal v Union of India case , with respect to take down of content or blocking of social media handles .

” All this is against principles of natural justice , and akin to censorship , ” it said . The Guild said it was sur prising that the Ministry had notified this amendment , without any meaning full consultation that it had promised after withdraw in the earlier draft amendments it had put out in January 2023 .

” The Ministry’s notification of such draconian rules is therefore regrettable . The Guild again urges the Minis try to withdraw this notify cation and conduct consul transactions with media organic station and press bodies , ” it said .

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