IT panel to examine media ethics, suspension of internet

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on October 24, 2021

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor heads the Standing Committee on Information Technology

Decision follows complaints received from the public against the functioning of media

The Standing Committee on Information Technology, which also examines issues related to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, has decided to review ethical standards in media coverage. The decision, according to a member, was arrived at after looking at a number of public complaints in the functioning of media. The panel will also study the impact of suspension of telecom services and Internet during the last five years in States such as Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi following protests against the governments.

The reconstituted panel, headed by veteran Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, will also review the functioning of the Prasar Bharati Organisation. The challenges facing Indian film industry is another issue that would be taken up by the committee. The panel has plans to visit various States to study the scenario, particularly after the lockdowns due to the pandemic.

The Committee is presently reviewing the functioning of Central Board of Film Certification. A member said the framework of censorship needs changes after the advent of internet platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. He said panel will discuss the issues involved as many films and programmes are being released through such platforms.

It will also look at the functioning and outreach of Doordarshan Channels and the Bureau of Outreach and Communication (BOC). It will also study the growth and opportunities of community radio stations.

On issues connected with the Ministry of Information Technology, the panel has taken up the subject “Citizens’ data security and privacy”, “Digital Payment and Online Security measures for data protection”. It will also review the functioning of Unique Identification Authority of India. Another subject the panel has selected is the citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms. It will also examine the steps taken to promote electronics/IT hardware/telecom equipment manufacturing sector under Make in India and measures for reduction of imports.

The panel will also review the cyber security scenario and also the Information Technology Act of 2000 and the Telegraph Act of 1885 . The panel will look into the functioning of BSNL and MTNL and will come up with a plan for enhancing their performance. The functioning of TRAI, the performance of schemes under Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and the issues confronting telecom sector including telecom service providers will also be studied.

Published on October 24, 2021

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