By LE Desk

New Delhi, March 9: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice in a challenge to the recently notified Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice DN 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.

The Court will hear the parties at length on the next date of hearing, which is April 16, The Economic Times reported.

In February, the government issued new guidelines to police user-generated content on technology intermediaries such as Facebook, Twitter and Google. Rules also brought government control on digital news platforms and OTT video content providers.

Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the petitioner argued that despite the Supreme Court striking down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, which had similar provisions for regulating content, the Centre has now brought out these Rules to do indirectly what it cannot do directly.

She argued that the new rules “go far 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 portals, 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.

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