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Updated: Mar 14, 2022

JUNE 21, 2021, 9:00 AM IST

Key Highlights-

★ The report expressed a need for the Government of India to review, re-examine

and extract restrictions or violations of comprehensive human rights in the

Information Technology(Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code)

Rules 2021.

★ India, as a potential global technology innovation leader possesses the capability

of broadening and enhancing certain legislations that can be placed in the forefront

of accomplishments to safeguard digital rights, said experts.

★ IT rules are "designed to empower ordinary users of social media", responded the

Indian Government.

NEW DELHI: As per the communication sent to the Indian Government, on June 11,

2021, which is publicly accessible from the UN website and penned down by Irene Khan,

Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion

and expression, Clement Nyaletsossi Voule, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom

of peaceful assembly and association, and Joseph Cannataci, Special Rapporteur on the

right to privacy, states that the new IT rules structured by the Indian Government do not

conforms with the International Human Rights norms. The 8-page report stated that the

provisions and structure of the concerned statute infringe the right to privacy and freedom

of opinion and expression enshrined and safeguarded in Article 17 and Article 19 of the

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, complied to by India on 10th April

1979, stated the Hindu Business Line.

"As a global leader in technology innovation, India has the potential to develop

legislation that can place it at the forefront of ef orts to protect digital rights. However,

the substantially broadened scope of the Rules is likely to do just the opposite. We would

therefore encourage the Government to take all necessary steps to carry out a detailed

review of the Rules and to consult with all relevant stakeholders, including civil society

dealing with human rights, freedom of expression, privacy rights, and digital rights." said

the experts. The report further conveyed a deep, grave, and consequential concern with

the enactment of the statute and expressed that the terms used in the new IT rule as per

section (3)(1)(b) which necessitates various social media platforms to "perform due

diligence for rationally and ethically objectionable identified content "racially or

ethnically objectionable", "harmful to a child", "impersonates another person", "threatens

the unity... of India," "is patently false and untrue", "is written or published with the intent

to mislead or harass a person [...] to cause any injury to any person." are excessively

wider in perspective and do not hold literal and verbatim definitions which may

eventually, result in arbitrary applications on the subject of guidelines.

“Private companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, per the UN Guiding

Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, the outsourcing of content

moderation by requiring private companies to remove broad categories of content,

without an order of a court or independent administrative authority, may run contrary to

international standards on freedom of expression” added the experts.

The Indian Government stated in response to the concerned communication which

affirmed that the new IT rules are designed in such a way that it aims to empower

ordinary and common social media users. It further clarified that the people who are

being victimized by various social media threats will have an authorized redressal

a platform for their respective grievances. To curb and restrict the abuse and exploitation

on social media which comprises escalation of disharmony, encouraged recruitment of

terrorists, financial embezzlement, incitement of violence, and dissemination of obscene

and vulgar contents it has become an essential need of the hour to bring such legislation

for the promotion of prosperity wrote the Indian Government.



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