NEW DELHI: Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has made it clear that penalising social media companies for not complying with India’s laws would be a “last resort” and that the Government prefers not to include punitive measures in laws.
The clarification came after the Centre released the final version of the new amendments to the IT rules that make it clear that social media intermediaries must comply with the Indian laws.
The amended rules laid out a structure for the creation of a Centre-backed panel for grievance redressals, where users could file an appeal against a decision taken by a social media intermediary regarding particular posts. Chandrasekhar said India expects social media companies, regardless of their ownership, to comply with Indian laws.
The absence of penalty structures in the new rules, he said, is indicative of the “common mission” of creating a “safe and trusted” internet space, adding that these rules will assign accountability to intermediaries and also help citizens gain more choices in addressing grievances.
The latest rules were released following a consultation process based on draft rules that were made public in June this year. During the consultation process, various bodies including some of the popular intermediaries pointed out that a Government-controlled Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), as recommended in the rules, would neither be independent nor democratic.