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An Indian nonprofit challenges news media content rules

The rules cover social media and streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. (AP photo)

New Delhi: An Indian non-profit organization that runs an independent news website today has challenged in court the country’s new rules that seek to regulate content on digital media.

New Delhi last month announced the so-called Intermediate Guidelines and the Digital Media Ethics Act that are legally enforceable

It also organizes major social media companies like Facebook and Twitter.

In its petition in the Delhi High Court, the Independent Press Foundation, which publishes the news portal “The Wire”, argued that rules formulated under India’s IT law could not govern online media.

“It goes beyond anything that can be accepted in a democracy,” the foundation’s lawyer, Nitya Ramakrishnan, said during a virtual court hearing.

The rules establish a three-tiered regulatory structure for news media including a oversight mechanism by the federal government, raising concerns that it will limit the freedom of the press to report independently.

The case will then be heard on April 16.

The rules are part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts to regulate online content including on social media and streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

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