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‘Misplaced, exaggerated and disingenuous’: India’s response to UNHRC’s criticism of latest IT rules-India News , Firstpost

Stating that new IT guidelines are ‘designed to empower unusual customers of social media’, India on Sunday dismissed criticism by three UN particular rapporteurs and stated that the nation’s democratic credentials are effectively recognised

New Delhi: India has dismissed criticism of its new IT guidelines referring to social media by three UN particular rapporteurs on rights points, saying the nation’s democratic credentials are effectively recognised and the best to freedom of speech and expression is assured underneath its Constitution.

“The concerns alleging potential implications for freedom of expression that the new IT Rules will entail are highly misplaced,” India’s everlasting mission to the UN in Geneva stated in a strongly worded response, asserting that the foundations are “designed to empower ordinary users” of social media.

The enactment of those guidelines had change into essential following widespread considerations about rising situations of abuse of social media and digital platforms, it stated.

The Upper House of Parliament had repeatedly requested the federal government to strengthen the authorized framework and make the social media platforms accountable underneath the Indian legal guidelines and the foundations had been framed after intensive deliberations, it famous.

Also, the Supreme Court of India in two judgments had directed it to border essential pointers to eradicate little one pornography and associated contents in on-line platforms and in addition stated that it was crucial to border correct regime to search out out the individuals, establishments and our bodies who had been the originators of such content material messages.

“The Permanent Mission of India would also like to highlight that India’s democratic credentials are well recognised. The right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution,” it stated in a communication to the rapporteurs.

“The independent judiciary and a robust media are part of India’s democratic structure,” it added.

The Special Rapporteur on the promotion and safety of the best to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceable meeting and of affiliation and the Special Rapporteur on the best to privateness had expressed considerations over India’s IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

“The concern that the rules may be misused deliberately to make a large number of complaints so as to overwhelm the grievance redressal mechanisms created by social media platforms is also misplaced, exaggerated and disingenuous and shows lack of willingness to address the grievances of the users of these media platforms while using their data to earn revenues,” the Indian mission stated in its response.

The Rapporteurs stated the foundations of their present kind don’t conform with worldwide human rights norms and pressed for an in depth evaluate.

“We would like to recall that restrictions to freedom of expression must never be invoked as a justification for the muzzling of any advocacy of multiparty democracy, democratic tenets and human rights,” the Rapporteurs stated in a communication.

Under the brand new guidelines, social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter are required to nominate nodal officers and create mechanisms to take away offending posts and messages.

US tech big Twitter has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian authorities over the brand new guidelines. The authorities accused the corporate of failing to adjust to the brand new guidelines which got here into pressure late final month.

The Indian mission additionally stated that underneath the brand new guidelines, the social media corporations are required to nominate India-based grievance redressal officers, compliance officers and nodal officers to deal with complaints of the customers.

“The enactment of new IT rules had become necessary due to widespread concerns about issues relating to increased instances of abuse of social media and digital platforms, including inducement for recruitment of terrorists, circulation of obscene content, the spread of disharmony, financial frauds, incitement of violence, public order etc,” it stated.

The mission stated that previous to the notification of the foundations, the customers had no alternative to file a criticism in case of any misuse or abuse of social media platforms.

Referring to a verdict by the Supreme Court, it stated the federal government of India totally recognises and respects the best of privateness.

It stated the brand new IT guidelines search data solely on a message that’s already in circulation that resulted in an offence, asserting that they’ve been framed in train of the statutory powers of the IT Act, totally considering the ideas of reasonableness and proportionality.

“The rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving and resolving complaints from the users or victims,” the mission stated.

“Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer,” it added.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) additionally issued a press release on India’s response.

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