India’s Online Publishers Worried About New IT Rules 2011

By | June 16, 2012

The new set of rules called ‘IT Rules 2011′ for governing users generated content on websites is facing the ire of the Internet community in India and chiefly from the Google, which calls the rules as censorship of the Internet in the country.

These rules will impact Internet firms which accept user generated content such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo and others. The new IT rules regulate readers’ comments on articles, user posted videos, blogs, photos on online social networks. Ministry of IT and Communications has notified these rules under Section 79 of the Indian IT Act. According to these rules, websites shall inform users not to publish any posts that are blasphemous, incite hatred, ethnically objectionable, infringe patents, threaten India’s unity or public order. According to the new rules and regulations if any content carries ‘disparaging’, ‘harassing’, ‘blasphemous’ or ‘hateful’ can be banned.

The rules require websites to remove objectionable content and Internet service providers and social networking sites to bar certain types of content. And it is the responsibility of websites for removing objectionable content within 36 hours of being notified by authorities. Google has opposed the proposed restrictions by Indian Internet regulators stating that the rules can be a problem to the company, as the company is found liable for material posted by third parties.

According to experts, the new IT rules will increase the cost of compliance for Internet firms, as they now have to set up large teams to monitor and remove objectionable content. Google has said that, free and open Internet will help growth of digital economy and it also safeguards freedom of expression. Websites are also now needed to have grievance officers and the details of those officers need to be published on the websites. The officers are responsible for addressing the complaints within one month of receiving them.

Source: Economic times