CIC directs MIB to provide the list of news publishers who have submitted their details under the IT Rules, 2021.

IFF filed an RTI application with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) to obtain information on notices sent to publishers of news media under Rule 18 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021). While the MIB stated that 2100 publishers have provided their details under the IT Rules, it refused to provide any other information under the RTI application, such as the number of notices sent, or the legal basis of sending the notices despite a stay on Rules 9(1) & 9(3) of the IT Rules, 2021. The MIB even refused to share the list of publishers, claiming that the publishers provided the details under a “fiduciary relationship” with MIB. Aggrieved by this, we approached the Central Information Commission (CIC), where the CPIO, MIB revealed that by then over 2,800 publishers had submitted their details to the MIB. The CIC held that MIB’s reliance on the fiduciary relationship exemption was misplaced and directed the CPIO, MIB to provide the list of publishers within 15 days.

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