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IT Rules: MeitY Notifies Fact Check Unit under PIB

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has notified the fact check unit (FCU) under the Press Information Bureau to flag fake or misleading information in respect of any business of the Central Government.

This has been done in consultation with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The FCU has been operational since November 2019 and verifies claims about government policies, regulations, etc. It posts fact checks on its social media platforms after investigation and verification.

Rule 3(1)(b)(v) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, as amended on April 6, 2023, provides for additional due diligence requirements, mandating intermediaries to take reasonable efforts by itself and to cause users not to host or publish information in respect of any business of the Central Government, which is identified as fake, false or misleading by the unit as notified by MeitY. In accordance with this Rule, the Ministry has notified FCU under the Press Information Bureau.

Last week, the Bombay High Court refused to grant interim relief against notification of a fact check unit, citing failure to establish that such a notification would cause grave and irreparable loss. This led petitioners to approach the Supreme Court which will hear the matter today.[1]

[1] The Apex Court, in the case of Kunal Kamra v. Union of India (CA No.4512-4514/ 2024), has issued a stay on the notification, to be operative till the challenge to the 2023 Amendment Rules is decided upon by the Bombay High Court.

 

Date: March 21, 2024