A Division Bench headed by C.J. D.N. Patel was hearing the Petition filed by ‘Foundation for Independent Journalist’ a trust, which owns ‘The Wire’, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ‘The News Minute’ Dhanya Rajendran and Founding Editor of ‘The Wire’ MK Venu.
A Notice was issued by the Delhi High Court in a challenge to the recently notified Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Court will hear out the Parties in detail in the next hearing scheduled on April 16.
Sr. Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing on behalf of Petitioners argued that despite the Supreme Court striking down s. 66 A of Information and Technology Act, which had the similar provisions for regulating content, the Centre has now brought out these Rules to do indirectly what it cannot do directly. In furtherance, she argued that the new rules ‘go beyond anything that is permissible in a democracy’ adding that intermediaries are different from publishers. The Petitioners have challenged the IT Rules, 2021 only insofar as they affect digital news portal and are not with reference to ‘publishers of online curated content’ i.e. OTT media platforms or any other entities sought to be regulated by the impugned rules.