Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said the government will examine the need for coming out with a law for regulating YouTube-hosted news channels.
The Chief Minister's statement in the state assembly assumes significance at a time when the police has taken action against some Malayalam online news channels.
Left MLA P V Sreenijin had lodged a complaint with the police alleging that an online media channel deliberately defamed him by spreading fake news.
On Thursday, Left MLA P V Anvar submitted in the House that news channels running on YouTube were unregulated under the present laws and many of them allegedly spread false or defamatory news.
Acknowledging that it was a serious issue, the Chief Minister said the Information Technology Rules of 2021 prohibit dissemination of any information on online media channels, including YouTube, that is defamatory or affects sovereignty of the country or friendly relations with another nation, law and order, etc.
For blocking such content, the central government has appointed a designated officer under the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, the CM said.
He further said that the state IT department secretary has been appointed as the nodal officer to examine the complaints regarding false or defamatory content on online media channels and recommend to the designated officer to block them.
The nodal officer can make such recommendations based on court orders also, he added.
"In addition to that, as suggested by the member of the House, framing a law to regulate such channels can also be examined," Vijayan said.
Sreenijin, in his complaint, had also alleged that the online media channel had even made insinuations against his father-in-law, a former Chief Justice of India.
The actions against the online media channels kicked off a political storm in the state with both the Congress-led opposition UDF and the BJP severely criticising the ruling CPI(M) in the state over it and accused it of "hunting" media personnel