Hyderabad/Chandigarh, 7 August: Expressing concern at certain provisions in the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill 2023 which may lead to the shrinking of press freedom in the country the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) urged the Lok Sabha Speaker to refer the bill to a parliamentary standing committee.
In a statement issued on Monday IJU President K. Sreenivas Reddy and Secretary General Balwinder Singh Jammu said Section 36 of the DPDP Bill can be used by the government to know the personal information of journalists and their sources. The provision allows the government to ask any public or private entity to furnish
the personal information of any person. It does not exempt journalists. This can be exploited by the government to seek personal information of journalists, the IJU leaders said.
The Bill exempts the government from provisions of the bill, which allows the latter to retain, share internally, and process data for any period of time. These features create an atmosphere of surveillance which may lead to a chilling effect on the activity of journalists in the country, the IJU leaders opined. They further described clause 44(3) as detrimental to the working of media as it seeks to do away with the exemptions provided in the Right to Information Act for withholding personal information.