The Digipub News India Foundation, an association of eleven digital news organisations, on Friday announced that it will form an independent, high-level review committee to address concerns of readers about the content published on their websites.
Scroll.in is among the founding members of the Digipub News India Foundation. The group also consists of Alt News, Article 14, Boomlive, Cobrapost, HW News, Newsclick, Newslaundry, The News Minute, The Quint and The Wire.
Digipub said the ombudsman committee will comprise former Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur, Prajnya Trust Director Swarna Rajagopalan, Safai Karamchari Andolan Founder Bezwada Wilson, and Jawhar Sircar, the former chief executive officer of Prasar Bharati and former secretary in the Ministry of Culture.
While the modalities of the committee’s functioning and work were still being worked out, Digipub said that the independent panel represented “an additional, voluntary layer of transparency” on the part of the member publications.
“A few of our members have had independent internal mechanisms for review in place for some years, while others are in the process of formulating their own in-house procedures of varying formality,” it added. “DIGIPUB and its members see these mechanisms as part of our commitment to professional media ethics, which includes providing our readers – who may have bona fide objections to particular published content – an opportunity to reach out to us.”
The statement further reiterated Digipub’s concerns about the new IT Rules, 2021, to regulate social media companies, streaming platforms and digital news content. It said that any attempt by the government to regulate the content of news portals or publications “would be to strike not only at the constitutional scheme but at democracy itself”.