India establishes 3 Grievance Appellate Committees to ensure accountability of internet platforms

(Xinhua) 16:43, January 29, 2023

NEW DELHI, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Indian government on Saturday established three Grievances Appellate Committees (GAC) that will address users' complaints against social media and other internet-based platforms to ensure accountability of internet platforms.

GAC is based on the recently amended Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, IT Rules 2021 and the committees are composed of three members each.

"The IT rules 2021 provide for creating avenues for grievance redressal apart from courts and ensure that the constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any big-tech platform by ensuring new accountability standards for significant social media intermediaries," a statement issued by the federal ministry of electronics and information technology said.

According to the ministry, GAC is a critical piece of overall policy and legal framework to ensure that the internet in India is open, safe, trusted and accountable.

"The need for GAC was created due to large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by internet intermediaries," the statement said. "GAC is expected to create a culture of responsiveness amongst all internet platforms and intermediaries towards their consumers."

Officials said GAC will be a virtual digital platform that will operate only online and digitally -- wherein the entire appeal process, from the filing of an appeal to the decision thereof, shall be conducted digitally.

"Users will have the option to appeal against decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body. The committee will endeavor to address the user's appeal within a period of 30 days," the ministry said.

The GAC will commence operation on March 1.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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