- In a notification dated November 9, the President has approved the order to bring web films, digital news, etc. under I&B ministry headed by Prakash Javadekar.
- Until now, there was no law governing the digital content of the autonomous bodies.
- The government has issued an order bringing online news portals and content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar under the Information and Broadcasting ministry. The notification, signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, was issued on Monday. The government regulations also apply to news on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Films, audio-visuals, and news and current affairs content on online platforms will come under the domain of the ministry.
- The Press Council of India 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.
- OTT platforms include news portals and also streaming services such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which are accessible over the internet or ride on an operator's network.
- OTT/streaming and different digital media platforms have surely given a way out for film makers and artists to release their content without being worried about getting clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board, the petition said.
WHAT INFLUENCED THIS DECISION?
- In September, the government had disapproved of the self-regulatory model proposed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) for the OTT platforms in India. In a letter to IAMAI, the MIB had said that it will not be supporting the proposed model while suggesting that IAMAI take a cue from self-regulatory models of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA).
- It had also raised concerns about the lack of an independent third-party monitoring and a governing code of ethics of the model. It also informed IAMAI that the proposed mechanism does not clearly define prohibited content, and it also drew attention to the issue of conflict of interest at the second and third-tier level.
- IAMAI's proposed model had suggested a two-tier structure chaired by a retired judge of SC or HC, with the Digital Curated Content Complaints Council (DCCCC) acting at the second level.
- The government also said that there's no classification of the prohibited content and the advisory panel of the second tier comprises of Online Curated Content Providers (OCCPs) as opposed to an independent organisation like DCCP (which was proposed earlier). The ministry pointed out that the one independent member on the panel will therefore be in minority.
- The Information and Broadcasting ministry had earlier told the top court in a separate case that there is a need to regulate digital media and 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.
- Interestingly, even the “news and current affairs content on online platforms’, has been added under the sub-category of “Films” and not “Press”.
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