The Kerala High Court today sided with the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and ordered that no coercive action should be taken for not following the new IT rules for the time being.
The NBA has challenged IT regulations on the grounds that they give “excessive power” to government authorities to “unreasonably and inevitably restrict” the freedom of speech and expression of the media.
The NBA said in a statement that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, violated Article 14 of the Constitution on equality before the law and Article 19 on the right to freedom of practice in any profession, trade or business.
The application states that the new rules create a “supervisory system that gives the executive a seamless, uninterrupted and additional power to control the content of digital news media”.
“The ability to create and redress the grievances has had a ‘cooling effect’ on the content of the media. The writ petition further states that by creating such a structure, the executive has entered into judicial power and placed itself in the hands of the NBA,” the NBA statement said. Power is reserved and such exercise of power is without jurisdiction.