MietY to Hold 'Separate Consultations' on PIB Fact-Check Proposal Next Month

This was announced by Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, but no further details were provided.

New Delhi: The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) appears to have taken into consideration some of the widespread criticism of its recent proposal to take down from all digital platforms any news deemed fake by the Press Information Bureau’s Fact-Checking Unit. Minister of state for electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Tuesday (January 24) that the ministry will hold “separate” consultations with stakeholders on the matter in February.

“We will hold a separate consultation (on PIB fact check) sometime early next month,” Chandrasekhar said. No further details were revealed.

The MeitY proposal had drawn concern and criticism from various quarters including media bodies, rights activists and others, who disagreed with the government being the final decision-maker on what is deemed fake. There was also worry that the government would use the section to remove news critical of the government.

The draft proposal was introduced on January 17 by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as an amendment to the Information Technology Rules, 2021.

Another worrying aspect of the proposal was that it also said that in the future, content that has been marked as misleading by “any other agency authorised by the government for fact-checking” or “in respect of any business of the Centre” will not be allowed on online platforms.