The News Broadcasters Association (NBA), which is the body comprising of all the current affairs and news broadcasters and channel owners in the country, has vehemently opposed the new IT rules which were put out by the IT ministry a few weeks back. While Twitter has mostly been resisting compliance with the rules and has been in passive defiance of the new laws, NBA has taken a more proactive approach by filing a writ petition in the Kerala High Court challenging the new rules.
NBA Files Petition in Kerala HC
As per the NBA, the new set of laws give unrestricted, unreasonable power to the executive to dabble with the media. In the petition filed with the Kerala HC, the petitioner noted that the new laws are violative of sections of the IT Act 200 and also ultra vires to Article 14, which is the basis for the right to equality in the country as per the Constitution of India. Not only this, the petitioner went on to write that it also infringes upon Article 19(1)(g), which grants freedom to the people to freely practice any profession. As per the news broadcasters association, the New IT Rules give “unfettered” access to the executive to regulate the content of digital news media.
Digital Media Companies Unhappy With New IT Rules
Adding to its argument of opposing the new IT rules, the petition also noted that even in the IT rules, the “content” and its guidelines had not been defined well, which points to the new laws again violative of the parent act itself. Not only this, but as per the interpretation of the center, the digital news media outlets have been equated as been the same as the “intermediaries”. It is worth noting that the NBA is a high profile body that consists of a total of 78 media outlets/broadcasters, including the top 25 current affairs or new media companies.
As for the center, the government has responded by reaching out to the Supreme Court, saying that it wants all petitions against the new IT rules to be transferred to the SC. As we speak, the big social media company Twitter also seems to be reluctant about complying with these new rules.