Amid brouhaha on rules empowering govt to fact-check news, minister says consultations to be held next month

The government said on Tuesday that it will hold consultations with the stakeholders on rules pertaining to fake news and curbing misinformation next month, before implementing them.

The response came after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) proposed a plan to amend the IT rules to give power to the Press Information Bureau (PIB) to “fact-check” whether any news is fake

MeitY minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that consultations with stakeholders regarding rules on curbing fake news would be held “sometime early next month”.

On January 19, the government had said that it will hold consultations with the stakeholders on the proposed amendments to IT rules pertaining to curbing misinformation on January 24.

The rules have been drafted to ensure fact-checking and to prevent the spread of misinformation or patently false and untrue or misleading information on social media and other intermediary platforms.

Meanwhile, Chandrasekhar also informed mediapersons on Tuesday that the consultation process on Digital Personal Data Protection Act is complete and it is being processed for notification.

MeitY had last week released a modification to the draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which it had previously released for public consultation.

While the consultations on amendments to IT rules were mainly centered around making rules for online gaming, a clause on identifying fake news and its removal by PIB was added to them, which led to protests within media circles.

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