Government tells SC to Regulate Digital Media

The Union government have initiated in the Supreme Court (SC) that SC should first frame the guidelines to regulate the digital media. The government said that there is a need to draw the line between “freedom of journalism” and “responsible journalism” for digital media first instead of the electronic and print media.

What Is the issue?

Petition have been filed in the court against the “Bindas Bol” show on the Sudarshan tv. The show has been accused of defaming the Muslim community joining the prestigious civil services. The petitioner has urged in the court to initiate contempt against the show’s anchor and the channel’s Editor-in-Chief for his tweets that he published after the stay order.

Supreme court’s Take

The apex court had proposed to the government to frame guidelines on the communal and derogatory content that runs in the mainstream media. The court also put a stay on the broadcast of the show.

Center’s Take

The Central Government have appealed to the Apex Court to not take any steps to regulate the electronic media like television channels stating that there is already a law on this. The law has been made after the decisions of Parliament and Supreme Court earlier. Center have argued in written that such guidelines are required to regulate digital media such as web portals, YouTube channels etc., first since it has a greater reach and wider audience as compared to the mainstream media.

What does the rule say?

Presently, India does not have any regulatory mechanism for online streaming platforms. Though, such streaming platforms have been classified as intermediaries according to the section 2(1)(w) of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000. With respect to electronic records “intermediaries” means any person who receives, stores or transmits that record or provides any service with respect to that record on behalf of another person. It also includes the network service providers.