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DNPA waiting for a discussion with government, will not submit IT Rules compliance details

The government had issued forms for digital news publishers to furnish information under Rule 18 of the IT Rules seeking details on the grievance redressal mechanism. They were given 15 days to respond to it, which ends on June 10

Members of the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) will not submit the form to furnish details of their compliance to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, as they are still waiting to have a discussion with the government. The last date to submit the form is Thursday, June 10.

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Pawan Agarwal

“We are still waiting to have a discussion with the government. We have requested them to keep these laws at abeyance for us until we are able to speak to them. We have once again written to the government, asking them for an interaction. We have not received a response yet,” said Pawan Agarwal, Chairman, DNPA.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting had issued forms for digital news publishers to furnish information under Rule 18 of the IT Rules. Apart from seeking basic information such as the URL, social media handles, details of Board of Directors and contact information, it seeks details on the grievance redressal mechanism like a grievance redressal officer and name of the self-regulating body of which they are a member. They were given 15 days to respond, which ends on June 10.

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A public notice attached with the form mentions that since newspapers are registered under the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, and private satellite TV channels are permission holders under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines (2011) of the Ministry, a separate form to furnish their information has been devised for these entities that publish news on digital media.

However, DNPA, which comprises print publishers and TV broadcasters with a digital presence, does not want a mere differentiation from digital-only media houses, but has asked the government to exempt them from this rule as they already follow regulatory protocols applicable to print or television mediums. According to the IT Rules, 2021 the digital news publishers would have to have a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.

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“Our members already have the first two tiers of the mechanism, we are only asking the government to do away with the third tier,” Agarwal had said in an earlier interaction with BestMediaInfo.com.

DNPA members had met Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar in March, requesting that they should be treated differently than news publishers who are only on digital platforms as they already follow the regulatory protocols laid down by PCI and the Cable Television Network Act.

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