New IT rules only to tackle misuse of social media, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

Between Twitter and WhatsApp reversing the government’s new social media rules, IT and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the rules only benefit more than 100 users who use such platforms by giving them ways to deal with their grievances.

“… These are the rights of users who oppose the misuse of [social media]. Any strong democracy that allows for free speech and speech, must also allow for a grievance redressal forum, ”said Mr Prasad.

The Minister also stressed that these forums must comply with Indian law.

“Social media users can criticize Narendra Modi, criticize government policies, and ask questions. I have to write it down immediately … I have been in this position for almost seven years now… the way the media has empowered ordinary Indians is a matter of great confidence … But an independent company based in America should not get involved in this. to educate us on democracy when you deprive your users of the right to a working environment, ”he said.

New arbitration rules such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google. Twitter and Telegram, came into operation on May 26, and the Minister added that many platforms have already submitted their compliance with the ‘The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code), 2021’.

Some telecommunications companies have expressed concern over a clause regarding the arrest of employees under the new rules.

New IT rules only to tackle misuse of social media, says Ravi Shankar Prasad
New IT rules only to tackle misuse of social media, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

In terms of Rule 4 (A), communication forums require the appointment of a senior law enforcement officer who will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and the sub-rules and to deal with any further third party related information where he or she fails to ensure due diligence by the consultant.

Failure to see proper diligence is the basis for initiating action. These Rules add that no obligation will be placed on the principal communications coordinator, unless given the opportunity to be heard. Therefore, all defenses are there. If mediators already think that they will not follow due diligence, that is their fault. If they do not intend to do so, there will be consequences.

Similarly, deletion of content is also preceded by certain conditions. Mediators will remove or disable access within 24 hours of receiving content complaints that expose private areas of the public, expose such individuals to full or minimal nudity or in sexual acts or in a state of impersonation including degraded images, etc. can be imposed on a person or any other person in his or her name … What is this? With the removal of content by government orders, there is already a procedure under Section 69 (A) under the IT Act.

The issue is nothing but misuse and abuse of these platforms, and whether the victims have a platform or not. And we [the government] are out of it. This is among the forums of communication with their users who are victims of abuse.

These Rules came into effect on May 26, what action will be taken against non-compliance?

The action I will take or the department to take must not be contradicted in the public discourse. Leave it to us. We will make the decision within the full governance process. Let me repeat: They must follow the rules. These rules are for users only. It is unacceptable that they will get good money here, not to argue about it, but if there is a helpless victim who has a problem with abuse, we should go to America. When a concerned mother comes to me and says that her daughter’s ex-boyfriend is spreading pornography, what should I do? Ask him to complain in America, as Twitter says? This situation is unacceptable.

These rules did not come suddenly. This went on for three to four years. There were two court orders, a Parliamentary order and a public demand, followed by extensive consultation.

Will this problem affect India’s image, especially in terms of doing business?

No. Many companies have followed the rules. This is not a question of any image of the world, these are the rights of users to abuse. Any strong democracy that allows freedom of speech and speech, should also allow for a forum for the resolution of grievances, namely these guidelines.

The rules are very clear. They should appoint India-based staff – a grievance redressal officer, a law enforcement officer and a chief of staff to liaise with the government. Are we asking for a month? Do they need a UPSC type test to make this set? As a temporary measure, they can relocate one of their employees here.

When Indian IT companies go to do business in America, do they follow the rules or not? Indian pharma companies are going to be made in America, do they follow American laws or not? There will be no compromise on the digital empire of India.

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