ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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New IT Rules, 2021

Crucial Landmark in Digital Governance

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are designed to further empower the state and allow the executive considerable powers to shape public discourses. On the one hand, the state now demands access to all information about the content and origins of every digital communication, a measure that will weaken the right to privacy. On the other hand, digital content is now subject to both self-regulation as well as extensive surveillance and regulation designed to allow substantial control by the executive over content.


The Information Technology (IT) Act which came into force at the turn of century has been the subject of much scrutiny. Given that it is mandated to regulate evolving digital spaces whose contours and tensions continue to reveal new facets, it should not come as a surprise that the IT Act has ­often brought to the fore societal, poli­tical, ethical and even existential dile­mmas. Debates around the IT Act have forced us to think about multiple aspects that underlie our dilemmas. How, for ins­tance, should we as a society negotiate the desire to curb hate speech and to simultaneously ensure freedom of expre­ssion? How can we build governance systems which are just, equitable, transparent, and do not leave ordinary citizens at the mercy of both technology as well as the formidable powers of the state? How do we protect the ordinary citizen from surveillance, even as we recognise that our lives in the contemporary world are increasingly lived in the digital domain where we are constantly generating and leaving data footprints in nebulous spaces? Does the only solution to curbing the immense power of multinational tech companies lie in stren­g­thening the powers of the state? These questions, legitimate as they are, have animated debates and discussions not just in India but all over the world. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 announced recently have yet again opened up some of these debates.

Manipulation of Public Discourses

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Updated On : 30th Aug, 2021
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