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Fourth Challenge To New IT Rules : Kannada News Portal ‘Pratidhvani’ Moves Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court adjourned by two weeks a petition filed by “Truth Pro Foundation India (TPFI)”, a non-government organisation that runs the Kannada news portal Pratidhvani, challenging the recently notified Information Technology(Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules) which seeks to regulate digital news portals. The petition filed through advocate Rakesh B Bhatt claims that the rules are ultra vires the Information Technology Act, 2000, in as much as they set up a classification of publishers of news and current affairs content and seek to regulate the news portals under part III of the rules. It is said that imposing a code of ethics which stipulates such vague conditions as ‘good taste’, ‘decency’ etc are not envisaged by the parent act (IT Act). The petition states that the challenge is limited to the IT rules 2021 to the extent it affects the digital news portal and not with reference to publishers of online curated content i.e. OTT media platforms or any other entities sought to be regulated by the impugned rules.

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