Government wants to play the role of enabler in data protection, rather than policing, says Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament at IAMAI’s PUBVISION

New Delhi: The government is trying to create a balance between the rights and obligations of consumers and businesses, and has no intent to frighten businesses under the weight of compliance when it comes to data privacy laws, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Member of Parliament, said at the first edition of PUBVISION, India’s largest digital publishing event organised by IAMAI, today.


Speaking on data privacy, he said: “Privacy is being breached today day in and day — willfully, negligently or accidentally, we know that it is happening. The basic idea of the government is that while the right to privacy is a fundamental right and the data protection bill brings a balance between the rights/obligations of consumers and businesses, we don’t want to make it very difficult that the business gets buried under the weight of compliance and frightened by privacy being a fundamental right…we want to make the compliance painless for those who are abiding by the laws and also painful for those who are willfully violating it.”


“So, the idea which has come up is to create a Data Protection Authority, a sort of regulator which would be highly qualified, not restricted to bureaucrats, which would be an enabler of data protection rather than policemen of data protection. The Data Protection Authority is going to be India’s test for a modern world-class digital domain regulator.”


Speaking on the new digital media rules, Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, highlighted that India is among the topmost countries in achieving exponential growth in digital media consumption and with the new IT rules, our endeavour is to create a level-playing field between traditional media platforms and the digital media players.


“The government is trying to play the role of an enabler and want the entire industry to grow through policies and regulations. While digital media growth is absolutely welcome and we all are beneficiaries of that…However, there are certain do’s and don’ts, in the national interest, in the interest of citizens, especially the children. Certain do’s and don’ts were followed very easily and without any difficulty by traditional media. We wanted a single level-playing field for the digital media as technology has not converged for a reader or a viewer,” he said.


During the event, the industry voiced its concerns around misinformation with the democratisation of the internet and mentioned that it would make itself accountable for the content. However, requested the government to look at the jurisdiction part and keeping in view the difference between legacy platforms and the new-age digital media.


The event witnessed over 1500 delegates, comprising digital publishers, brands, agencies, ad-networks. The digital publishing sector has undergone a lot of changes, further accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Amid the changing scenario, having the right revenue model, keeping fake news/misinformation at bay, adhering to new regulations are some of the key concerns for digital media.


The one-day conference explored various aspects of the digital publishing ecosystem in India. It covered the three important aspects of digital publishing – Scale, Impact, and Sustainability.

Sustainability covered deep discussions on policy topics covering the impact of new regulation, handling misinformation, and journalistic freedom. The conference deliberated on the impacts on ad revenues, subscriptions, content, and how technology is aiding the transformation.


Building a data privacy ecosystem in India, how Indic publishers are locking the next 100 million netizens, changing the landscape of Indian audience, among others, were some other topics of discussion. Bharat Gupta, Chief Executive Officer, Jagran New Media; Puneet Singhvi, Chief Executive Officer, Network18; Govindraj Ethiraj, Founder, IndiaSpend; Rajesh Kalra Executive Chairman, Asianet News Media & Entertainment; Baybars Orsek, Director, International Fact-Checking Network; Ruby Dhingra, Managing Editor, NC Media Network; Vikram Chandra, Founder, Editorji; Sunny Nagpal, Co-Founder & MD – APAC, Httpool India, among others, were the speakers at the event.


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