Thursday, May 30, 2024

OTT, news portals, online media now come under I and B ministry

The Central government has taken the first big step towards regulation of online content, including news platforms and streaming services, such as Over The Top (OTT) medium like Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime Video etc by bringing them under their purview.

All this, as well as digital and online media, audio-visual programs, films, current affairs and news portals now come under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I and B) with immediate effect.

To do so, the government amended the (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, and the order was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday. Incidentally, this comes into effect with immediate effect and the absence of laws (or rules) for the online content cannot be any defence in the legal sphere.

Presently, film and television certification bodies are working to regulate the contents being out in the public domain. No such government appointed regulatory body exists to oversee the online contents of various types on various digital platforms. It seems like the first step towards the creation of a regulator in the near future.

Less than a month ago, the Mumbai Police had said that TRP ratings of some TV channels were being manipulated. I and B Minister Prakash Javadekar had at that time talked of self-regulation being better than any government control. He had then said that the government would welcome any meaningful suggestions for self-regulation. However, the government has now said that he received no representations from any quarters.


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