Fact check unit

Supreme Court: In a special leave petition filed by Kunal Kamra, Editors Guild of India and Association of Indian Magazines challenging the refusal of the Bombay High Court to stay the implementation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules 2023 (IT Amendment Rules 2023), the three-judge bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI., JB Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, JJ. has stayed the Union’s notification of the Fact-Check Unit (‘FCU’) under the IT Amendment Rules 2023, till the Bombay High Court finally decides the challenges to the IT Amendment Rules 2023.

On 20-03-2024, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified that the Fact Check Unit under the Press Information Bureau of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will also act as the Fact Check Unit of the Central Government for monitoring the news related to its business. Any information posted in social media in relation to the business of the Union Government, which has been identified as fake or false by the FCU, has to be taken down by the social media intermediaries, in default of which they will lose the ‘safe harbour’ immunity against legal proceedings. The Fact Check Unit will be governed by the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Also read:

Bombay HC delivers split verdict in a case challenging IT Rules establishing Fact Check Unit

The Bench has set aside the order dated 11-03-2024 of the Bombay High Court refusing to stay the implementation of the Rules and the consequential order allowing the Union to notify the FCU. Further, it said that the challenge to the rules raises ‘serious constitutional questions’. The impact of Rule 3(1)(b)(v), as amended by in 2023, on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression would fall for analysis by the High Court.

Source: Press

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