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India defends IT rules against UN's fall short international standard claims

India defends IT rules against UNs fall short international standard claims

New Delhi: Defending its new IT Rules, India said that rules were framed after wide range of consultations with various stakeholders in 2018. The India's Ministry of Information Technology made this statement in response to the UN Special Rapporteurs that claimed India's new IT rules fall short of international human rights norms.

In a letter to the UN Human Rights Council, India's Permanent Mission to UN pointed out that India's Ministry of Information Technology and also of Information & Broadcasting had undertaken broad consultations in 2018 with various stakeholders, including individuals, civil society, industry associations and organisations and invited public comments to prepare the draft rules.

Further, an inter-ministerial meeting had gone through the comments received and the rules were finalised accordingly, India said in the letter.

"The Permanent Mission of India would also like to highlight that India's democratic credentials are well recognised. The right to freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. The independent judiciary and robust media are part of India's democratic structure", the letter said.

The report by UN Special Rapporteurs at United Nations Office of the Human Rights Commissioner had raised concerns regarding India's Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 in that in the current form, the Rules do not conform to international human rights norms.

"As noted in previous communications sent to your Excellency's Government, we are concerned that these new rules come at a time of a global pandemic and of large-scale farmer protests in the country, where the enjoyment of the freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to receive information, and the right to privacy, is particularly important for the realization of several other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights", the report said.

"We would like to recall that restrictions to freedom of expression must never be invoked as a justification for the muzzling of any advocacy of multiparty democracy, democratic tenets and human rights", the report added.

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TAGS:New IT Rules India UNHRC 
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