Imphal, March 2 (IANS) Hours after a district magistrate in Manipur sent a notice to a digital news platform under the Centre’s new rules to regulate digital media in the country, the district authorities withdrew the notice with “immediate effect”.
In a related development, the Secretary at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Amit Khare, in a letter to Manipur Chief Secretary Rajesh Kumar clarified that under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the three-tier grievance redressal mechanism and the requirement of furnishing information and disclosure of information are to be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
“These powers have not been delegated to the state government or the district magistrate or the police commissioner,” Khare told the Chief Secretary.
The district magistrate of Imphal West district, Naorem Praveen Singh, had on Monday morning served a notice to the publisher and intermediary of a Facebook-based online programme on “news and current affairs” named “Khanasi Neinasi”, asking the publisher and the intermediary to furnish “all the relevant documents showing compliance of the provisions of the new information technology rules, failing which steps as deemed fit shall be initiated without further notice”.
The notice was withdrawn on Monday evening by the same district magistrate.
In Manipuri, Khanasi Neinasi means ‘let’s talk’.
Reacting to the notice, Manipur journalist Kishore Chandra Wangkhem, who anchored the weekly online programme, said: “I believe this is a direct assault, direct intimidation and a direct threat to freedom of press.”
Wangkhem has been arrested thrice since 2018 on charges of sedition and under the National Security Act for his posts on social media.
According to the letter written by Khare, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 was framed under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and was notified on February 25.
“Part III of these rules relating to news publishers and publishers of Online Curated Content (OTT) platforms, including the code of Ethics, the three-tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism and the requirement of furnishing of information and disclosure of information, are to be administered by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” it said.