Centre for Internet & Society

This paper looks at the Manila Principles intermediary liability framework in comparison to the amended draft Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment)] Rules, 2018 introduced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in December, 2018.


In December 2018, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) introduced amendments to the draft Information Technology [Intermediaries Guidelines (Amendment)] Rules, 2018 [“the 2018 Rules”]. The proposed changes ranged from asking intermediaries to proactively filter content using automated technology to prohibiting promotion of substances such as cigarettes and alcohol.  In CIS's submission to the Government, we highlighted our various concerns with the proposed rules. Building on the same, this paper aims to assess how the new draft rules measure up to the best practices on Intermediary Liability as prescribed in the Manila Principles. These principles were formulated in 2015 by a coalition of civil society groups and experts, including CIS, in order to establish best practice to guide policies pertaining to intermediary liability.

Depending on their function, intermediaries have a varying hand in hosting activism and discourse that are integral to a citizen’s right to freedom of speech and expression. The Manila Principles are an attempt at articulating best practices that lead to the development of intermediary liability regimes which respect human rights.

Consequently, the paper examines the draft rules to assess their  compatibility with the Manila Principles. It provides recommendations such that, where needed, the rules are aligned with the aforementioned  principles. The assessment is done based on the insight into the rationale of the Manila Principles provided in its Background Paper.

Disclosure: CIS is a recipient of research grants from Facebook India. 

Click to download the research paper which was edited by Elonnai Hickok and reviewed by Torsha Sarkar.

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