In an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on the ‘Nation Wants To Know’, Union MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar stated that in the current scenario, the Internet consists of both good and bad content. He stated that the government of India is not looking at these aspects in terms of any ideological standpoint but making immense efforts to keep the Internet safe for users.
This came after the Centre’s announcement of amendments in the Information and Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Union Minister of State further listed down 10 conditions that are listed in the rules that intermediaries have to follow.
Chandrasekhar stated, “Internet in its current form represents both good and there is clear evidence that there are plenty of bad. Plenty of user harm, illegalities, and criminalities proliferating on the Internet. Any responsible government with a duty to its citizens will not be blind to the challenges of keeping the Internet safe and trusted”.
Highlighting the bad, he added, “We are not looking at the bad on the Internet in terms of an ideological point of view. Bad for the Indian citizens and Digital Nagrik includes cyber security, cyber frauds, child sexual abuse, trafficking people, pornography, and invasion of others’ privacy. There are a whole series of things”.
10 conditions in the rules the intermediaries are obliged to follow:-
- no content that belongs to others
- no pornographic content
- no content that is obscene is allowed to any person
- no paedophilic content
- no invasion of others’ privacy
- no content that promotes enmity between different groups or religions
- no content that incites public order
- no content against national security
- no content that threatens unity and integrity
- no content that threatens defence security
MoS Chandrasekhar claimed that there are many cases of content just being bad or content creating harm either to a community, any individual, or to a country at large and that is an established jurisprudence. “There is nothing new in that but the rules basically carve out these issues in specificity and state that intermediate must take care that these types of content never find a place in their platforms”, he added.
Rajeev Chandrasekhar further highlighted how the government has rolled out a roadmap for the next decade, from a technological and digital economy point of view to attain the goal of a Trillion Dollar Economy by 2026. He stated the need for the internet to be ‘safe and trusted’ for the same. He opined, “It is a place where currently 80 crore Indians are connected to usage for their lives, livelihoods, subsidies, education and health and by 2025-26, that number will be 120 crores. It is important therefore that the underlying internet is safe and trusted.”