NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre on a petition filed by various media houses challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan appearing for media houses told the bench, “We do not say news media is beyond regulations.
It has to be done by way of a statute dedicated only for the news media. The new rules dealing with the digital media go far beyond anything that is permissible in a democracy.” Ramakrishnan added that the Information Technology Act, 2000 had no provision to regulate digital media and thus the new rules were ultra vires the 2000 Act.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Jasmeet Singh issued notice to the Centre. The plea argued that an offence under Section 66-A of the IT Act, penalising content that is ‘offensive’ or causes ‘annoyance’ was struck down on grounds of vagueness by the Supreme Court already.
The Centre issued the rules on February 25 to regulate the functioning of online media portals and publishers, overthe- top (OTT platforms), and social media intermediaries.