internet companies like, and Minister of Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said that failing to remove content identified as false or misleading by government-notified fact-checkers could result in the loss of safe harbor protections.
He said fact-checkers are a reference point for combating misinformation and rejected the argument that it harms “free speech.”
“If you want Section 79 Safe Harbor protection as an intermediary, you have some obligations. Your obligation is that you must be proactive about misinformation.
“If you choose to have a disagreement with a fact-checker, you can continue to do so on the platform, but those who suffer from that disinformation will have a legitimate dispute in court… Section 79 is a safe harbor. It will be removed,” he said.
Intermediaries include internet and social media platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, as well as internet service providers. Safe harbor clauses protect intermediaries from legal action for objectionable content posted online by users.
Chandrasekhar said the IT ministry will notify entities that flag false information about the government posted online.
While announcing guidelines under the IT Rule 2021, the minister said fact-checking work is still underway.
Chandrasekhar said, “The government has decided to notify the entity through Meity and the organization will be a fact-checker for all aspects of online content and only government-related content.”
Chandrasekhar said fact-checking dos and don’ts will be shared before being notified.
“We will definitely have an outliner of what the organization will be like. No doubt we will share it when we notify you,” the minister said.
He said PIB should be notified to become a fact-checker under the IT Regulation.
“It is likely that it will be the PIB fact-checking unit that will be notified. The reason I did not explicitly say PIB fact-checking under the rules is that they are not being notified under the IT rules,” Chandrasekhar said. Stated.
The minister said the intermediaries have asked the government to inform credible fact-checkers of their due diligence on false information.
“We will notify fact-checkers under Meity and essentially help intermediaries determine what is misinformation. If they can do it themselves, fine. If you need help with government information, there will be fact-checkers,” Chandrasekhar said.
The minister said intermediaries can continue to challenge content flagged by notified fact-checking bodies, but may lose their safe harbor protections under the IT Act.
As part of the amendments to the IT Regulation 2021, the government said that “anything identified as fake, false or misleading by the central government fact-checking unit with respect to central government business may be permitted by the ministry.” said. , by notification published in the Official Gazette. “