India’s Platform And Media Ethics Code

Having made something of a splash last month with the fuss over Australia’s News Media Bargaining code, Facebook, and the digital giants, are facing another stormy front in India.  The move here has nothing to do with revenue so much as alleged bad behaviour.  “We appreciate the proliferation of social media in India,” stated Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister of electronics and information technology. “We want them to be more responsible and more accountable.”

Such responsibility and accountability will purportedly be achieved through the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.  They are part of a program that has been incubating for some years.  An IT industry consultant advising the government expressed the sentiment to Wired in 2018.  “The government’s message is: If you want to do business in India, do it on our terms and conditions or you are free to leave.”  Previously, the Indian approach has been more timorous.  It had “always been ‘Do it the Apple way, do it the Facebook way, do it the Amazon way.”

Behind such rules is a crude, self-vested interest at work.  The primary role of social media lies in the sharing of information.  Governments tend to be happy with material they can finesse, curate and control on such platforms.  When the platforms become home for material that challenges the official version, stirring the blood of the citizenry or encouraging misrule, problems emerge.

To make its case, the Indian government has resorted to the marketing of moral outrage.  Over the last years, fake news has become something of a favourite, the Zeitgeist driving the regulatory truck.  In 2017 and 2018, over 40 deaths due to mob violence were said to have arisen from generously circulated disinformation.  On July 1, 2018, in the hamlet of Rainpada, five men, all members of the Nath Panthi Davari Gosavi wanderers, were beaten to death.  They were victims of a rampaging mob incensed by rumours circulating on WhatsApp that the area was crawling with opportunistic child kidnappers.

The Indian authorities duly asked WhatsApp to assist in stopping the “irresponsible and explosive messages” on its platform.  Some actions were taken.  The number of forwards was limited to five at a time.  Those messages also sported a “forwarded” tag.  This did little to pacify government officials.

The scope of the proposed changes is far from negligible.  The draft IT rules take aim at over-the-top (OTT) media services responsible for content on such outlets as Amazon, Netflix and Prime and news media platforms.  Applicable entities include “publishers of news and current affairs content”; “intermediaries which primarily enable the transmission of news and current affairs content” and “publishers of online curated content”.  Finally, “intermediaries which primarily enable the transmission of online curated content” are included.

Indian social media
India’s government has said tech companies have to be “more responsible, more accountable”, describing the new rules as “soft-touch oversight”

The regulatory framework will entail three tiers: self-regulation by the entity itself; self-regulation through “self-regulating bodies of the applicable entities” and an “Oversight mechanism by the Central Government.”  The creation of “Chief Compliant Officers” by the companies is envisaged as are “nodal” persons responsible for 24 hour “coordination with law enforcement agencies and officers to ensure compliance to their orders or requisitions made in accordance with the provisions of law or rules made thereunder.”  Resident Grievance Officers will also have to be appointed.

The introduction of this additional layer of regulation will constitute a form of bureaucratic strangulation, with the oversight mechanism open to censoring content in a manner that goes even beyond the current powers of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for TV regulation.

The Internet Freedom Foundation considers the mechanism a calamity in waiting, breaching the digital rights of citizens, causing economic harm “and [will] also negatively impact India’s growing cultural influence through the production of modern and contemporary video formats entertainment.”  In anticipation of the government code, 17 OTT platforms have already developed “self-regulation toolkits” which risk embracing the genie of self-censorship.

The incorporation of news media in the Code goes beyond the ambit of current legislation and potentially exceeds the safe harbour protections for intermediary platforms outlined by section 79 of the Information Technology Act.  That section exempts intermediaries hosting material from liability provided they follow various stipulated guidelines.  The draft rules, as they stand, circumvent due process and parliamentary scrutiny through regulation.  Media would also be censored if the government were to take a broad reading of the definition “publisher of news and current affairs content”.

Prasad does not merely want social media channels to be more diligent monitors and, if necessary, censors.  He is clear that such digital platforms lend a hand in identifying culprits who might be behind the dissemination of information and be targets of government prosecution. “We don’t want to know the content, but firms need to be able to tell who was the first person who began spreading misinformation or other objectionable content.”

Sub-rule (2) of Rule 5 proposes to do this, stating that the significant social media intermediary primarily responsible for providing messaging services “shall enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource as may be required by a judicial order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction” or by “the Competent Authority” pursuant to legislation.

The unacceptable content officials have in mind is detailed in a government release.  The objectionable material would be the sort that relates to Indian sovereignty and integrity, state security, friendly relations with States, “public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years”.  Prosecutors will have much to play with.

Breaking the resistance of companies such as WhatsApp to traceability requests has been a central aim of the Modi government, despite such proposals being dismissed as ineffectual in actually achieving their stated purpose.  They are not the only ones.  End-to-end encryption is seen by states as a technique for concealment, ripe for abuse, which is always a mean spirited way of clamping down on digital sovereignty.  Countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia fantasise about creating backdoors to content.  That very subject is being currently considered by the Indian Supreme Court in the case of Antony Clement v Union of India (TC Civil No. 189 of 2020).

The emerging trend here is that, while such policy may fail to achieve its stated goal, it will certainly be pernicious in other ways, as any backdoor weakening of encryption or vital escrow systems would breach privacy and security.  Given that encryption acts as a safeguard in the current digital environment of data aggregation, while also deterring identity theft and code injection attacks, the draft rules look menacing.

Manoj Prabhakaran, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering based at ITT Bombay, suggests that States should do the opposite.  In a furnished expert report in the Antony Clement case, he urges government authorities to “promote strong encryption and anonymity.  National laws should recognize that individuals are free to protect the privacy of their digital communications by using encryption technology and tools that allow anonymity online.”

While the conduct of digital platforms is monstrous in terms of their operating rationale, not least their tendency to monetize privacy and commodify predictive behaviour, government scapegoating is a shallow distraction.  The agenda of the Modi government is moral stringency, surveillance and the monitoring of unruly citizens.  Breaking down the doors of encryption while encouraging social media giants to regulate themselves into censorship, is all in keeping with this theme.

Reposts are welcomed with the reference to ORIENTAL REVIEW.
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  1. samir sardana

    Media Ethics ? In India ?

    Media in Hindoosthan – Big Picture – North India

    This is not the USA or EU, wherein intellectuals,ideologues,idealists and philosophers,own,manage and edit newspapers.In India or Hindoosthan,the media is owned by rapacious banias,brokers and pimps,fronting for politicians and tycoons, blackmailers ,extortionists, murderers and rapists.

    In the North of India,the entire media is owned by banias,and financed by banias,politicians and political parties. It is either owned by the banias,or the bania is a front man,for the mafia or the politicians and political parties. These banias are English illiterate,and a race of liars,thieves and cheats – a race of pure Indians,id.est., they are not Rig Vedic invaders.They have atypical Indian features,and are easily identifiable.

    Media in Hindoosthan – Big Picture – South India

    In the South of Hindooland,the media is mainly owned by Political parties – as the media,is a working capital guzzler,and the media needs cash (not bank loans),to operate.With the parties in power,the government ad blitz,is done through these outlets,and the money is also bled out,to generate cash,for the politicians.As time passes,some of these media entities,are listed on stock exchanges

    The real owner of the Media and the Media Busines Model

    In essence,the actual and quasi owners of the media,are the banias and the politicians – as the revenue model, of the news,is based on advertisements – which are sourced from corporates,owned and managed by banias,or managed by brahmin/bania and kayastha
    etc..Corporate adverts,are based on TRPs – but the Govtt ad blitz and propoganda,is based on discretion of politicians,and their pimps,in the media.

    There are several loss making media outlets,in the pathetos of Hindoosthan – for decades – but they do not fold their business. Foolish people ask Y ? Several Editors and Owners,of Large media houses,and loss making media outlets – act as pimps,of the politicians.They provide access to politicians and baboos for large contracts,loans,acquisitions and licences.That is the REAL business model,and then,there is the “conversion” operation – wherein,the Politicians get paid in cash,for the Govt ad blitz done,via the media entity.The conversion is more profitable,for loss making media entities,for obvious reasons.

    The rate for rotating the cash of the politicians,is half the SBI PLR (Medium term PLR).Banks do not lend to media outlets –
    and so,the working capital of these outlets,is funded by the cash of the politicians and banias.

    Hence,the real owner of the media,is the politician and the bania financier.The Bania CEO, is meant to manage cash flow and
    has no intellectual imputs.It is thus,obvious, that the media has to peddle the line and ideology,of the politicians,and the
    ruling dispensation.

    Media Antics and Tactics

    To ring fence themselves,the Indian Media has made defamation laws – which suit their needs,and the media house is owned by a myriad maze of Trusts,NGOs,Firms,Partnerships and Corporates – which makes criminal liability,impossible.The self regulatory bodies of the Indian media,are all bogus,and are meant to dissuade the plaintiffs.The media vermin,can destroy any politician,and also, any Judge – and so,no Judge has ever sent an Editor,or Onwer of a media outlet,to jail.The Dubious Hindoo nation,has no concept of “punitive damages”,on anybody.

    Besides,the media is pampered with nil duty on newspaper imports,EPCG schemes for newsprint makers and other sops for the media.In addition, they get land and property concessions at prime locales,but at sub prime rates.To keep the moolah flowing,these vermin,have award ceremonies of dubious credibility,to pamper the egos of politicians and tycoons,and banias – to keep the cash flowing – an exercise,in cheap antics and perfidy,wherein the media and the awardees,are complimenting each other,with an audience of morons,waxing eloquent on the merits of Indian Democracy !

    Reductio Asurdum – Expecting idealism and ethics

    If the media is owned by banias and politicians – then Y will the media focus,on the following :

    Corruption – as it is done by banias and politicians,and the politicians,are the sponsors of the state adverts
    Bank NPA and Frauds – as it is done and sanctioned,by banias and politicians,and the banias are the sponsors of the adverts
    Farmers suicides – as no bania dies and banias and politicians gain,by farm overproduction
    Farm moneylenders – as all the financiers and arhatiyas,are banias
    SME doom – as the money is stolen by banias,and politicians
    Manufacturing doom – as that will hurt the oliticians,and the corporate sponsors
    Military doom – as that will hurt the politicians,and the hindoo ego
    Evils of the Hindoo faith – as that will hurt a billion hindoos and politicians,and the corporate sponsors
    Dalit and Lower castes – as that will hurt a billion hindoos and politicians,and the corporate sponsors
    Hunger,poverty,rape and degradation – as that will hurt a billion hindoos,and the corporate sponsors

    The Indian Media are the lapdogs of NARENDRA MODI.dindooohindoo

  2. samir sardana

    Media Ethics in India ? Ethics in India !

    This is the nation which used RAW and foreign news portals and Indian Media to DISSEMINATE fake news on Islam and Pakistan – on a GLOBAL SCALE – and WAS CAUGHT by the EU !

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/11/eu-ngo-report-uncovers-a-15-year-disinformation-campaign
    https://www.dawn.com/news/1603862
    https://thediplomat.com/2020/12/eu-non-profit-unearths-massive-indian-disinformation-campaign/

    The GOI used the ANI Group in India !

    MEDIA ETHICS FOR SUCH A NATION ? AND BY THE GOVTT OF SUCH A NATION ?

    The Indian Media is used by Modi to hound Muslims and keep them in intellectual ghettos and perpetual stereotypes, based on a strategem of repetitive lynching.

    Y gthe Anti – Muslim, Tone of the Indian Hindoo Media ?

    1st the public,has to get some basic concepts clear

    The media owners = Banias,and in a few cases,Brahmin
    The media editors = Brahmin ,and in some cases,Banias
    The media lawyers = Brahmin,Punjabi banias …
    The Politicians = All Right Wing Hindoos (In North India)

    Who are these people,and the raucous heathens and menials,which comprise the audience of the TV media,and the regional language print newspapers. These are the offspring of the rapes of women by the Sakas,Scythians,Mughals, Afghans, Turks,Mongols etc.It is said that Rajput harlots poured kerosene on their vaginas,before they committed suicide.The debauched history,of the hindoo cowards,is haunting the Hindoo – after 2000 years.

    What are the Indian Muslims ? They are converts from the lower castes.If the Mughals and Turks,had not ruled the Hindoos,these lower castes – would have been destroyed.Islam redeemed the Dalits and lower castes.However, the DNA is that of a Hindoo Dalit,still – and that is Y,West Asians mock Indian Muslims,and call them “Hindoos” – even in Mecca ! Many West Asians,do not even consider Indian Muslims,to be Muslims – because they have STILL NOT REVOLTED AGAINST INJUSTICE and have still NOT understood the MODI GAME PLAN and the fact that the Indian Muslims have NO FUTURE in India.

    The deep reservoir of Hindoo shame,has been converted into Muslim hate,by the Politicians – as that is the core of the Hindoo DNA.If there were no Muslims – the Hindoos would target the Dalits.It is the evolution of shame and humiliation,into HATE and VITRIOL – which is a tried and tested formula,in several nations.The media acts as a tool,for the “accentuation and catalysis” of the anti-muslim agenda,by distorting and hyping incidents, WHICH ARE CREATED AND NURTURED BY THE IB,NIA AND THE POLITICIANS (as a part of a conscious strategy of assymetric war,on the Indian Muslims and a perpetuation of, a monotony of propoganda)

    The formula of the politician,is simple – to create an issue each week of the year, in order to bring diffident and marginal hindoos,into the right wing hindoo cult – and let the opposition splinter the Muslim vote,into different parties.The Fact is that 90 % of the Hindoos,do not care for NRC/CAA,and also,believe that the Tabligh,is a Corona Bomb.That fact (which is the “Core DNA” of the Hindoo), and the media lynching,have fed on each other.

    Incidentally,the rabid competitive lynching by the media houses – pushes up the TRPs,to the stratosphere – which gets in the corporate advertisements, and which are then,followed by a political audit (by the politician) – who then,loosens the purse strings,of the state ad blitz,through the preferred media houses – akin to bones,thrown at the dogs,in a manger.

    To add the spice,each TV channel has a posse of rented and dubious Muslims and Nassara – who are not regarded as Muslims,by Islam,and also,deriied by Mecca and Rome.These limpets are used to provoke Sunni Islam (to perpetuate the Hindoo Myths about Islam and Muslims),and make it appear to Hindoo heathens and menials,that there are fissures in Islam – and that,there are some Indian Muslims,fighting the ogres of Islamic Orthodoxy – like Salman Rushdie ! Most Hindoos believe that Shias,Ismailis,Bohris are a “Caste”, within Islam – just like the Hindoos – same same ! dindooohindoo

    The Indian Media are SERVILE slaves of Narendra Modi ! They live off the Goebbelsian Propoganda of Modi and his band of crazed loons ! They TROIKA of the Indian Media,Modi and the Indian Media – deserve each other ! It is the everlasting embrace of 3 corpses at he bottom of the Arctic !

  3. samir sardana

    Media Ethics !

    The DNA of the Indian Media (as Black mailers) and their nexus with drug dealers,smugglers,bootleggers,illegal gambling,prostitution, trafficking, slave labour,organ trafficking …………….. is EPITOMISED BY THE GOAN MEDIA

    The track record of the corrupt,inept,semi-literate, heathen, parochial, chauvinistic, racist and debauched Goan Media ,whose actions and utterances are well known, and in the public domain (such as the case of the Casino extortion FIR filed on Goan Herald,or the FIR on Goan Herald staff for rape,or the FIR on Goan Herald for advertising, sponsoring and operating a Ponzi Lottery) , and is known to survive on extortion money and induced advertisements from the matka, gambling and prostitution industry

    • The owners of the media in Goa, are Business tycoons in the mining,resources and property sector – which are the primary cause, for corruption in Goa.It is natural that there is no intellectual or ideological motivation, behind these media ventures.The Goan media thrives only on the advertisements of the vice sector – which is the primary cause of the crimes related to drugs, trafficking, prostitution,pimping,organ trafficking,matka,lotteries,illegal gambling etc.Without these evils,there would be no entertainment industry in Goa, and thence, no media.
    • In Goa.,the Media runs on the gambling,matka,drugs and liquor sector and adverts – by direct and indirect methods.The salaries of the Goa state, are paid by the taxes from casinos and alcohol,and the state is financially bankrupt
    • As as example,Goan newspapers till a few years ago,used to carry advertisements,in their newspapers on MATKA strategies.
    https://www.newsgram.com/politicians-policemen-named-in-fir-against-matka-gambling/
    • As an example,The Goan Herald has had an FIR on the newspaper management,for extorting crores from Casino Pride in adverts – as a barter to NOT carry negative casino news in their newspaper.The CD of the extortion is in the public domain and there is no chargesheet,even after 4 years
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/goa/FIR-in-casino-case-against-local-English-dailys-officials/articleshow/53470453.cms
    http://asu.thehoot.org/media-watch/media-practice/an-extortion-sting-implicates-goas-herald-9490
    https://www.opindia.com/2016/07/sting-videos-reveal-paid-news-racket-of-media-rs-25-lacs-pm-for-no-negative-stories/
    • The same newspaper had started and sponsored a Ponzi scheme of investment returns in Goa
    • The newspaper serves and has served as a mouthpiece of the Church,and has been used in the past to drive the Congress out of power in Goa
    • Till some months ago,the Goan newspapers used to carry tips and advertisements on matka gambling, on a special page – and the newspapers sales used to spike on those days. The Goan media has no domain expertise, in any subject,and has carried as 1st page news,subjects like Goa Police arrests “Chaddhi Chor”.
    • In other words the Goan media is owned by the prime drivers of corruption, and their revenue is earned from the primary sources of crime.In addition,the Goan media is fully aware of the calibre, worth and ethical matrix of the Goa Police.Further,the Goan Media is run by Orthodox,Conservative and Jingoistic Hindus and Catholics ,who are primarily concerned with pushing and protecting the interests of their ilk.

    WHEN I HEAR “MEDIA ETHICS CODE” – I DO NOT KNOW WHICH WORLD THE LAW MAKERS ARE IN ? dindooohindoo

    MEDIA = Modi Engineered Demagoguery in India

  4. Like I said in my posts ABOVE – The Indian Media is owned by Banias and Marwaris and Gujaratis and Jains – who are stooges of Chaiwala – and there is no concept of “professional management”

    Now INVESCO IS ALSO STATING THE SAME THING – AFTER INVESTING BILLIONS AND LOSING MILLIONS !

    https://www.bloombergquint.com/business/invesco-to-stay-firm-and-steadfast-in-fight-against-zee-board-open-letter

    Like I always said

    FIIs have to just read the history of India ! dindooohindoo

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