The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules 2021”) were notified in February 2021, and fundamentally changed the internet experience in India. On October 28, 2022, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”) notified the Amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Amendment Rules 2022”), which introduced an additional layer of government-led censorship. On January 02, 2023, MeitY proposed amendments to the Rules to curtail online gaming. Again, on January 17, 2023, they issued a revised proposal to the amendment which made “fact-checking” a mandate of the Press Information Bureau (“PIB”), making the Union Government the final arbiters of free speech on the internet. The Rajya Sabha Committee on Subordinate Legislation is meeting on March 27, 2023, to consider the IT Rules, 2021 and its subsequent amendments - and we wrote to them expressing our gratitude for their consideration of the Rules, while citing our concerns as well as the impact on online free speech.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://internetfreedom.in/letter-to-the-rajya-sabha-committee-ahead-of-its-consideration-of-the-it-rules-2021/