New IT Rules For Fact-Checking Is In Favour Of Public
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology dismissed political satirist Kunal Kamra’s constitutional challenge to the Information Technology (IT) Amendment Rules, 2023, saying
the Rules are in the “public interest” and provide an evidence-based fact-checking system for a mechanism to deal with fake or false or misleading information that leads to riots, mob lynching, and other heinous crimes.
Points to Ponder:
- Kunal Kamra, a political satirist, had petitioned the Bombay High Court against the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023, claiming that they were arbitrary, violated fundamental rights of speech and expression, and were unclear.
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was asked by a Division Bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale to file a response to Kamra’s plea.
- In response to Kamra’s petition, the Ministry filed an affidavit, calling it premature and claiming that the Rules are in the public interest since they provide a fact-checking system to deal with false or misleading information, which can lead to horrible crimes like as rioting and mob lynching.
- The Ministry further stated that because false news travels six times quicker than truth, the Central Government will only direct the removal of inaccurate or misleading information relevant to government policies and projects.
- The Ministry argued that a majority of news-related information consumed on social media platforms in India is produced by common users who may not possess the capabilities, resources, and time to verify the information before publishing, which has allowed anti-social and anti-India organizations to deliberately publish and amplify false information.
- The Ministry believes that such a mechanism should not be viewed as being in conflict with fundamental rights.