The new IT or Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules, 2021 have been debated quite a bit due to the various provisions they encompass.
The center bought them last week and they aim to regulate all kinds of digital platforms and online news portals with an idea to address the grievances of the users and uphold compliance of the law.
This idea looks unsettling as it goes against the idea of freedom of speech and expression, also the right to information of the audience.
The Minister for IT, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that it is a soft-touch oversight mechanism and is the liberal and progressive outlook of the Govt.
It is seen that the process to adhere to the same is quite cumbersome for the digital media houses and new platforms as it provides a three-tier structure for regulation with the Govt committee at the apex level.
The new rules pertain only to the digital news media and not to the TV media and this is again a tough thing to note as the former is becoming one of the major sources of getting information and news for most people.
The three-tier regulatory platform will seek to redress the complaints of the users and makes sure there is adherence to the code of ethics which also includes thenorms of journalistic conduct’ complied by the Press Council of India among others.
There has also been a debate about the clarity aspect of the rules as they seem to appear a bit vague in their approach and need proper furnishing on information as to what is what.
The rules are also trying to make sure the compliance of the social media platforms as well like Whatsapp, Signal, or Instagram. The platforms will have to appoint a chief compliance officer and a nodal officer with whom the law enforcement agencies would interact.
With this, problems like the fake news narrative will be countered as they will be able to trace the source message.
It was quite evident that there would be regulation but it is needed that this regulation will not affect the freedom of speech and expression of the people and networks.
If the Govt is believing that it would be able to cater to problems existent in this arena this might also turn out to be counterproductive, especially in a nation like India where we do not have data privacy laws to protect our work or data.
Uniform application, a clear approach, and less interference are what would be needed here.
Criticism is vital for democracy and this aspect shouldn’t be curbed and the Govt., in an attempt to become a watchdog shouldn’t become a predator.
National Science Day
We are all aware that we celebrate National Science Day on February 28 every year but it’s quite fascinating to note that it is celebrated to mark not the birth of someone but the discovery of something.
On February 28, 1928, at the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, the Raman effect was discovered by Sir CV Raman who was one of the most talented and the most popular scientists of all times from India; for this discovery, he won the Nobel Prize for Physics.
Apart from him, we have some stalwarts in science from India including:
Satyendra Nath Bose
Jagdish Chandra Bose
These men laid a firm foundation for the growth of science in India post which we have done some great achievements in fields like:
Biotechnology among others
India today has become a hub for world-class scientific innovation and growth.
In recent times, we have two developments that will further propel the fora of Indian science which is the National Education Policy 2020 and the Science and Technology Innovation Policy 2020.
When it comes to NEP, the promotion of mother language is a good thing as it had been previously promoted by the scientists like Satyendra Nath Bose as well who believed that mother language has to be used to for science, teaching as well as a popularization.
Also, the starting of the National Research Foundation is good to encourage and fund the research ecosystem in the country as well as have a good atmosphere for the same.
The next is the STIP or the Science and Technology Innovation Policy that has also put forward ideas to promote research and development in the nation and have a robust ecosystem for the same.
It has also spoken about promoting entrepreneurship in science and technology by providing emphasis to the traditional knowledge systems. Also, it provides for an arena to strict cognizance of the problems and provides a science-enabled solution for it.
Further, the message of the science and its importance has to be taken forward also the legacy set by the giants we studied previously as well as ancient stalwarts like Aryabhata, Varahamihira, Bhaskaracharya among others have to be taken forward well.