New Delhi: The Centre has passed an order bringing online news portals and other content providers such as ‘Netflix’, ‘Amazon Prime Video’ and ‘Hotstar’ under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B). The order was signed Monday by President Ram Nath Kovind, but was announced for the media Wednesday. The new rules and regulations will also be applicable for social media platforms, ‘Facebook’, ‘Twitter’ and ‘Instagram’. The new order states that films, audio-visuals, and news and current affairs content on online platforms will come under the domain of the ministry. Until now, there was no law or autonomous body governing digital content.
Last month, the Supreme Court sought the Centre’s response on a petition for regulating over-the-top or OTT platforms by an autonomous body. The apex court issued notices to the Centre, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India. OTT platforms include news portals and also streaming services such as ‘Hotstar’, ‘Netflix’ and ‘Amazon Prime Video’, which are accessible over the internet or are available through various networks.
OTT/streaming and different digital media platforms have been a huge boon for creative filmmakers and artists. Through these platforms they can release their contents without worrying about clearance certificates. However, now their creations will be under scrutiny.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry had earlier told the Supreme Court in a separate case that there is a need to regulate digital media. The ministry stated that the court may first appoint a committee of persons as amicus before laying down guidelines with respect to the regulation of hate speech in the media.
It should be stated here that the Press Council of India (PCI) takes care of the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes care of films.