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Social media, digital news portals to now face govt scrutiny

Social media, digital news portals to now face govt scrutiny

Ravi Shankar Prasad said that objectionable content must be removed within 24 hours. Prasad added that the originator of the objectionable content must also be disclosed

Govt notifies new social media guidelines Govt notifies new social media guidelines

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad announced new social media norms for platforms. He said that objectionable content must be removed within 24 hours. Prasad added that the originator of the objectionable content must also be disclosed. OTT apps will also require a forum to handle grievances.

"Action will be taken to stop abuse of social media," said Ravi Shankar Prasad. He said that it is important to give a form to social media users to resolve their grievances against abuse and misuse of social media.

Speaking about the new norms Prasad said that the social media platforms will require to disclose the first originator of the objectionable tweet. "Social media platforms upon being asked either by a court order or a govt authority will be required to disclose the first originator of mischievous tweet or message as the case may be. This should be only in relation to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, public order, relations with foreign states, or rape, sexually explicit content etc," said Prasad.

The platforms would require to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, nodal contact person, resident grievance officer, all residents of India. They should also publish a monthly compliance report.

Prasad said that concerns were being raised over the years about rampant abuse of social media. "Ministry had widespread consultations and we prepared a draft in Dec 2018. There will be two categories - Intermediary which can be social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary," he said.

"We shall notify users of the significant social media intermediary very soon. They will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism, you will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days," he added.

Prasad said that if there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women, and ones that expose the private parts, indulge in nudity, sexual act or impersonation then they would be required to remove them within 24 hours of the complaint.

Publishers of news on digital media will have to follow the norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act, thereby providing a level playing field between offline and digital media.

"Freedom of media is the soul of democracy. We have fought for maintaining press freedom during Emergency," said Prakash Javadekar.

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