The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology plans to organize workshops and training sessions for senior government officials in administrative functions at the district and state levels to sensitize them to the new guidelines for social media intermediaries, digital news channels and over-the- top (OTT) platforms.
The need to organize these training and awareness sessions was felt after Manipur’s district authorities recently sent a notice to a digital news platform operating in the state capital, Imphal, asking it to “provide relevant documents” demonstrating the “compliance” with new government regulations. rules for digital media.
Need for an adequate supervisory mechanism
The plan to hold workshops and training sessions comes after a news website in Manipur’s Imphal received a notice to demonstrate compliance with the new regulations. Although the notice was revoked and the Ministry of Information Technology handled the situation quickly, the incident has highlighted the need to establish a proper oversight mechanism.
“If you look at that notice, it was removed within hours of being flagged. We are aware of the fact that (the new rules) could be misused or misinterpreted, especially in small towns and cities. We have sent notices to all district administrations that all powers under TI rules are only with the center, ”a senior official told The Sunday Express.
On March 1, the Imphal district authorities had sent a notice to the news website The Frontier Manipur and to the “editor / broker” of “Khanasi Neinasi”, a weekly online talk show hosted on the Facebook page of The Frontier Manipur.
The notice also asked journalist Paojel Chaoba to submit relevant documents showing that his website complied with the new guidelines for digital news platforms issued by the central government.
Although it was later withdrawn, the notice had raised issues of administrative overreach without a proper oversight mechanism in place.
This also resulted in the ministry moving quickly and sending a letter to all district administrations, stating that no powers had been “delegated under the new TI rules to the state government / district magistrate / police commissioner.”
Following the training sessions and workshops, there will be regular monitoring of any instance where the district administration tries to send any notices under the new rules to any digital news channel, the IT ministry official said.
“We have already sent a circular from the central level and we will closely follow all these developments. If this is repeated, appropriate action can be taken against such officials, ”the official said.
On February 25, the IT Ministry had notified the new rules and guidelines for social media intermediaries, major social media intermediaries, digital news services and OTT platforms.
The rules for digital news platforms required them to provide information on the geography from which they operated, a monthly compliance report on the details of complaints received and actions taken in this regard, and other details to the ministry of information and broadcasting within 30 days from February 25. In the event of any violation of these rules and guidelines, the power to take any action rested solely with the secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.