A YouTube channel that publishes news or current affairs programs must provide its details to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), Google’s video platform has said in its updated Terms and Conditions, which will take effect from January 2022. .
In an email to Google users, YouTube said that according to Rule 5 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021) Rules, 2021 “if you are a publisher of news or current affairs content, you are required to the details of your accounts on YouTube to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India”.
YouTube | .’s updated terms and conditions Source: YouTube
Rule 5 of the IT rules 2021, states that an intermediary who publishes news and current affairs content on a website, a mobile application or both “must provide the details of their user accounts on the services of such intermediary to the Ministry […]The section also says that publishers who have provided such information will receive a “publisher verification mark”.
The 2021 IT rules impose additional compliance requirements for key social media intermediaries such as Google in this case, as well as for publishing platforms across the spectrum, such as a digital news channel or an OTT platform. Recently, we’ve seen how non-compliance with IT rules has led to a months-long legal battle for Twitter. The rules are, in fact, being legally challenged in several of the country’s High Courts, with many arguing that they are unconstitutional and infringe on fundamental rights.
Instances where YouTube content is considered “illegal”
In the Upload content section of the Terms and Conditions, Google has identified instances where content would be considered “illegal under Indian law and the consequences when our systems identify such content”.
For example, YouTube said:
- The content you submit must not contain any third party intellectual property (such as copyrighted material) unless you have permission from that party.
- A person or publisher is legally responsible for the content submitted to YouTube.
- YouTube uses automated systems to analyze the video to help detect infringement and abuse, including spam and malware.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of the requirement to adhere to Section 5 of the 2021 IT Rules has drawn much criticism:
FAQs about IT rules on news publishers still leave questions unanswered
Recently, the Government of India published the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the 2021 IT Rules which was intended to provide clarity on the provisions of the rules. However, it left a number of questions unanswered. For example, here’s what the FAQ had to say in the context of news and current affairs publishers:
Evidence for news and current affairs publishers: The IT rules instruct intermediaries to publish a clear and concise statement informing publishers of news and current affairs content that they must provide details of their user accounts on intermediary platforms to the ministry in order to obtain a verification mark that is visible. is for all users.
- What needs to be addressed: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has not explained whether a contractual statement that a publisher has provided details is sufficient or is actual evidence that the intermediary needs to provide a quality mark.
Indian government approves self-regulatory bodies for news and current affairs publishers
The Indian Digital Publishers Content Grievance Council (IDPCGC) was approved in October 2021 as a Level II self-regulatory body for publishers of news and current affairs content under the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021, according to a notification on the MIB website.
Other than IDPCGC, there are only three SRBs listed on the MIB website:
- Web Journalist Standards Authority
- News Broadcasters Federation – Professional News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBF-PNBSA)
- Council for complaints about content from digital publishers
The IT Rules, 2021 established a grievance mechanism consisting of a three-tier structure for news and curated content publishers.
- Level I- Self-regulation by the publishers;
- Level II- Self-regulation by the self-regulatory bodies of the publishers;
- Level III Supervision Mechanism by the Central Government
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