Social media must act in accordance with Indian laws: MeitY

The Indian government’s proposal to set up a grievance appeal panel follows several complaints that social media platforms are not adequately addressing the issues raised by the people, Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Thursday.

The Minister of State for Electronics and IT held an open house discussion with stakeholders on a draft notice to amend the Information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code), 2021.

The government has proposed setting up a grievance panel that will have the power to ignore the decisions of social media companies and other internet firms.

“While we have laid out a grievance officer and a liability framework that were lacking before February 2021, we are inundated with people who say it is not enough and does not work adequately. Platforms and intermediaries do appoint grievance officers, but there is no real rectification of the grievance and there is a need to address it, “Chandrasekhar said.

The social media platforms should act on complaints that violate Indian laws and cannot violate the rights of citizens granted under the constitution, he added.

“While we encourage intermediaries from all over the world to assert their presence in India, their rules and condition of service may not at any time violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution in particular and the Constitution in general. not. , ”The minister said.

Chandrasekhar noted that social media firms cannot discriminate, play with the right to free speech and privacy and rights of citizens enshrined in the constitution.

The minister withdrew a representative of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) industry body because he did not give a convincing reason to extend the July 5 deadline for submitting comments by a month and on concerns about the increase in regulatory cost burden due to the enforcement of the proposed rules.

Asked whether the government is open to an industry-led voluntary mechanism to deal with grievances, the minister responded in the affirmative.

He said the government is ready to accept any alternative offered by stakeholders, which is credible and people feel that social media platforms are accountable to them when they raise their concerns.

“The current grievance rectification mechanism is far from being adhered to by the appropriate platforms. Therefore, consider this appeals panel as an interim mechanism until the industry steps forward and offers something credible,” Chandrasekhar said.

The rules will continue to evolve based on stakeholder feedback, he noted.

“Safety, trust and accountability are very relevant in these rules,” the minister said.

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