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Centre releases guidelines to regulate social digital media
The Government has claimed that the guidelines will provide the ordinary users with a platform to seek redress of any grievances about infringement of their rights by digital media.

NEW DELHI, Feb 27: The Government has released the guidelines that aim to regulate social media, digital news media and over- the-top (OTT) content providers.

The guidelines will empower the ordinary users of digital platforms and provide them with a platform to seek redress for their grievances. These will also ensure accountability for any infringement of the users' rights.

Meanwhile, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Government is committed to freedom of the media and the rights of individuals. He said the Government is equally concerned about the safety, security and law and order in the country.

He was inaugurating the centenary celebrations of the Patna High Court. The Union Minister said that the commitment of the Government to freedom of media is unchallengeable. However, it is equally concerned about the security and sovereignty of the country as well.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Prasad and Minister Prakash Javadekar shared details of new rules to regulate social media. They warned that “double standard of social media will not be acceptable.”

The new guidelines and rules lay down that:- There will be a three- level grievance redress mechanism; if there are complaints objectionable content will be removed within 24 hours after registration of complaint; social media platforms will be required to disclose the first originator of any "mischievous" information when asked by authorities; the government will set up an oversight mechanism; Publishers of news on digital media will be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act; Social media platforms must have a provision for the voluntary verification mechanism of the users; Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will also publish a charter for self- regulating bodies, including Codes of Practices; OTT platforms (like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) would have to self-classify the content into five age-based categories; the platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher; The will be a grievance redress system in OTT platforms and digital portals. The OTT platforms will have a self- regulating body, headed by retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or very eminent person in this category.

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