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15th April 2023 (6 Topics)

The ‘fact check’ is that Indians will have little choice

Context:

  • The amended IT Rules has allowed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to determine “fake or false or misleading” Internet content about “any business of the Central Government”.

About:

  • Fact check body- MeitY notified amendments to the Information Technology Rules, 2021, creating a regulatory regime that will allow a fact check body to label content related to the government on online platforms as “fake” or “misleading”.
  • Condition to retain ‘safe harbour’-Content marked as such by the body will have to be taken down by online intermediaries if they wish to retain their ‘safe harbour’.
  • Appeal Mechanism- The government is also planning to establish an appeals mechanism when it notifies the unit.

Fact Check Body:

  • Four member body- The Fact Check Unit (FCU) is likely to have four members — a representative from the IT Ministry and one from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, a “media expert” and a “legal expert”.
  • Highest levels of professional and ethical standards-The unit will uphold the highest levels of professional and ethical standards to ensure trustworthiness and neutrality.
  • Provision to “prominently display” -The FCU is expected to require platforms to “prominently display” when they take content down on the basis of the unit’s inputs.
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