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Tags Current Affairs

Intermediary guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code

Date: 28 May 2021 Tags: Bills & Laws

Issue

The Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code for social media platforms and digital news outlets has come into effect.

 

Background

The government had introduced the new rules about three months back and had given social media platforms three months to align themselves with the new ones.

 

Details

  • The new guidelines that have come into effect mandate the social media platforms to set up compliance and grievance redressal mechanism.

  • They are expected to appoint a nodal contact person, chief compliance officer and a resident grievance officer.

  • They are also expected to give a monthly list of complaints received from users and actions taken to the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.

  • Instant messaging apps and platforms such as WhatsApp are required to make provisions for tracking the first originator of a message.

  • The indemnity provided to social media adversaries under the Section 79 of the Information Technology Act will be taken away if they fail to comply.

 

Section 79 of IT Act

  • The section 79 states that a social media platform will not be held legally for the information, data, or communication link made available or hosted on its platform. 

  • The platform will be safe from prosecution as long as it transmits information from one point to another without interfering or modifying.

  • The social media intermediary must immediately disable a material of concern if asked by authorities else protection under section 79 will be withdrawn.

 

What will be the case if companies do not comply?

  • No serious changes will take place. Since they have not followed the new rules, in future if any case related to social media comes up, police can book the individual along with the executives of the company.

  • Officials of company may be even charged under criminal laws even if they have not done any wrong. The protection under section 79 is automatically withdrawn.

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