Consultations going on for change of rules on identifying Fake News: Kiren Rijiju

SRINAGAR — Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said amendments to the rules for determining fake news, false news and misrepresentation have been put through a consultation process, but need a lot of deliberations before being enforced.

“We are looking towards making certain amendments in the entire election process. I cannot give any commitment because it is a consultation process which is going on. So the definition of fake news, false news and misrepresentation … these are all important things which require a lot of deliberations. We are doing it,” Rijiju told reporters here after inaugurating the Legal Aid office.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023 on Thursday.

The 2023 amendments confer the power on the ministry to notify a fact-check unit of the Centre that will identify fake, false or misleading online content with respect to any business of the Union government.

Violation of the rules can lead to the social media intermediaries losing their “safe harbour” immunity.

On National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah’s call for unity in the Opposition camp for taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in elections, the Union minister said it only shows the strength of the ruling party.

“That shows that the BJP is very strong,” he said.

Asked when will the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly polls be held, Rijiju evaded a direct reply and said he cannot make announcements on election timings.

“I cannot clear the dates here. As I am the law and justice minister, I am the administrative minister of the Election Commission. So I cannot make an announcement here. The election will be announced in due course,” he added.

Asked about allegations levelled by People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter, Iltija Mufti, regarding her passport, the minister said “a passport is issued by the home ministry”. — (PTI)