Dear Reader,

The government’s announcement of new “rules” for digital news media and the OTT platforms have raised hackles in the independent media community. The worry is that the new guidelines are ushering in ‘censure’, if not censorship, under the guise of “soft” regulation’. The Print explains the ways in which these rules have the potential to impinge on media freedom and provide unfettered powers to government, while Mojo Story does a deep-dive into the new prescriptions with a panel of experts.

Down to Earth's story on the death of over 800 Olive Ridley turtles in Odisha’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary on February 4, led the state’s High Court to suo moto take up the issue, ordering the filing of a case of negligence against the officials of the forest and fisheries department. The Court also ordered the setting-up of a three-member committee on the conservation of sea turtles which will submit its report by March 10.

As signs of thaw emerge between India and Pakistan, after the announcement of the military ceasefire last week, eyebrows have been raised at the timing (on the eve of anniversary of Balakot strike) and the sheer unexpectedness of the move.The India Forum analyses the events and argues that India’s quest to avoid a two-front war, and the emerging geo-politics of the region, have a lot to do with this tentative step towards a potential rapprochement.

As Tamil Nadu heads to the polls, Asiaville deep-reports on the promises not kept by the state government to the people affected by the 2004 Tsunami, 16 long years after tragedy befell them.

And, Swarajya does the math to explain that while the Centre’s proclaimed quest for a $5tr economy by 2024-25 may have been delayed by the pandemic, it will certainly not be denied.

For these stories and more from the Foundation’s grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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New govt rules for OTT content, platforms such as Google, Twitter, digital media: meaning & concerns

As the Modi government introduces new rules to regulate OTT and digital media content, The Print interprets what these rules are and explains how it gives the government power to even take down a site – an unprecedented and arbitrary power.

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Modi government announces New Rules for Social Media | Free, Fair or Worrying | Barkha Dutt

Mojo Story delves deep into the new regulations introduced by the government of India governing the digital news media platforms and OTTs with a panel of experts and discusses why the new rules will actually militate against the freedom of the press.

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DTE impact: Orissa High Court forms panel to study Olive Ridley conservation after 800 die

Taking suo moto cognizance of Down to Earth's report on February 4 that over 800 Olive Ridley turtles have died in the last two months at the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary, due to the negligence of the state’s forest and fisheries department, the Orissa High Court ordered the filing of a case. The Court also constituted a three-member committee which will submit a report on the conservation of sea turtles in Gahirmatha marine sanctuary by March 10.

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Guns Fall Silent on the LoC. But can peace follow?

India and Pakistan announced a ceasefire agreement last week, raising hopes of peace along the western borders. The India Forum delves into the development and affirms that the rapprochement has more to do with India realising the threat of a two-front war. It also signals the reality of the new geo-political churning in South Asia as evidenced by China’s belligerent moves on the northern borders; and the change of government in the US.

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'Veedu' - 16 years of Wait and More! | Asiaville Tamil | குட்டி Documentaries | Life After Tsunami

Thousands of innocent lives were lost during the 2004 Tsunami in Tamil Nadu. Under 'Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project', the Tamil Nadu government, in collaboration with the World Bank, built and provided new houses to the ones who lost their houses to the disaster. However, many lost out. Asiaville's documentary profiles the lives of those families who still continue to wait for a ‘Veedu’ – 16 long years after the tragedy.

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More from the grantees
India’s Post-Pandemic Pathway to a $5 Trillion Economy
Swarajya tells you why the government’s quest for a $5-trillion economy, which has been delayed by the onset of the Covid pandemic, is set to be achieved not far from the target that was initially set.
Backstory | Distinct Vulnerabilities of Women Journalists: Afterthoughts on the Priya Ramani Case
The euphoria over the Priya Ramani verdict, absolving her of charges of defamation by a Delhi Court, The Wire argues, should not hide the fact that intimidation and sexual harassment are issues that women journalists have to face every day in the workplace.
Kerala ordinances allow ‘self-certification’ for building permit: Why it is worrying
Experts fear that this watering down of regulations sets a wrong precedent and may allow the real-estate players to get past existing laws, diluting the effort to protect the environment, The News Minute reports.
Research Radio Ep 17: Can Social Movements Change the Balance of Power in Educational Systems?
Until two decades ago, only one in four Adivasis in Tamil Nadu's Gudalur town were literate. Today that picture has changed dramatically. EPW speaks to two educationists and a scholar who share their journey of transforming this reality.
चित्रकूट: गाँव में कोई विकास नहीं, जड़ीबूटी बनाकर चलाती हैं महिलाएं घर
Khabar Lahariya reports from the Badi Madaiyan Ghat Kolanpatti village in Chitrakoot in MP, which is yet to see basic levels of development. Women from this village earn their living by selling local herbs.
The Swadeshi 'Wave' of Indian Banks
Even as the government looks to privatise PSU banks, Live History India takes viewers through the history of India’s “swadeshi” banking industry and how the American civil war, cotton exports from India and later, the freedom struggle led to a sudden growth in the need for modern banks in India.
Why the Privatisation of Schooling Hasn’t Improved the Quality of Indian Education
The Bastion explains that privatisation of school education in India has not helped in improving education. The analysis shows how collecting more relevant data linked to educational outcomes, rather than inputs, could help parents make a better decision in finding an appropriate school for their children.
Farmers’ protests: A volunteer’s diary
India Development Review takes you through a day in the life of a volunteer who travels more than 300 kilometers to the Delhi border to help protesting farmers.
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