Govt announces guidelines to regulate social media, OTT platforms and digital news

Age Correspondent With Agency Inputs

India, All India

As per the new rules, social media intermediaries have to appoint grievance officer, who shall register complaints in 24 hours

Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar in New Delhi, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. (PTI)

New Delhi: The government on Thursday announced new rules to regulate social media, OTT platforms, and digital news media, as it mandated firms to appoint grievance officer, disclose the first originator of the mischievous information and remove, within 24 hours, content depicting nudity or morphed pictures of women.

Concerns have been raised about rampant abuse of social media platforms and spread of fake news and the government is bringing in a "soft touch" regulation, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said while announcing the new guidelines.

As per the new rules, social media intermediaries have to appoint grievance officer, who shall register complaints in 24 hours. The grievance redressal official must be resident in India, and monthly compliance reports will have to be filed by social media platforms.

"Social media platforms on being asked either by court or govt authority will be required to disclose 1st originator of mischievous tweet or message. This should be in relation to sovereignty of India, security of state, relations with foreign states, rape etc," said Union Minister RS Prasad.

Regarding OTT platforms and digital news media, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government has decided to have a 3-stair mechanism for OTT platforms. "OTT and digital news media will have to disclose their details. We are not mandating registration, we are seeking information, " he said.

For OTT, there will be self-classification of content -- 13+, 16+ and A categories. "There has to be a mechanism of parental lock and ensuring compliance that children don't see that," said the minister.

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