Legalising Executive Control: On the Law of Online Journalism in India

Indian Law Review (2023)

Centre for Research & Analysis in Finance, Technology & Law Working Paper No. 1/2021

33 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2022 Last revised: 17 Oct 2023

See all articles by Nakul Nayak

Nakul Nayak

London School of Economics and Political Science

Date Written: September 10, 2021

Abstract

The version of record is available here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24730580.2023.2266979?src=

This working paper critiques the Government’s recently enacted Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 [“the Rules”] as they relate to digital journalism. The Government’s stated objective for making the Rules is that they seek to “level the playing field” of online journalism with print and broadcast journalism. I examine whether and how the Government sets about satisfying this objective. I make two broad claims in this paper. First, the Rules fail to “level the playing field”. The objectives and approach to regulation that the Rules contemplate is significantly different from those that govern print journalism. The substance of both regulatory schemes is also different, and to the disadvantage of online journalism. Second, and following from the first, rather than “levelling the playing field”, the Government gives itself overwhelming control of online journalism through the Rules. It exercises ultimate control over the regulatory structures that it sets out. And it gives itself extraordinary censorship powers over online journalism by carving out new compliance measures such as blocking and directions to publishers to delete and modify content. If my claims are correct, the Rules will lead to catastrophic consequences for online journalism and Indian democracy.

Keywords: IT Rules 2021, Digital Media Ethics Code, Press Council of India, Online Journalism, Press Commission, Digital Media Ethics, Information Technology Rules, Cable Television Network Rules, Broadcast Journalism, Print Journalism

Suggested Citation

Nayak, Nakul, Legalising Executive Control: On the Law of Online Journalism in India (September 10, 2021). Indian Law Review (2023), Centre for Research & Analysis in Finance, Technology & Law Working Paper No. 1/2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3920790 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3920790

Nakul Nayak (Contact Author)

London School of Economics and Political Science ( email )

London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
63
Abstract Views
1,126
Rank
653,320
PlumX Metrics