Digital Content ProvidersNow Under Government Regulation In India

online media now under government regulation

In the latest development in the Indian media industry, the government has brought online mediums, including films and news content, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The I&B ministry will also regulate online audio-visual programs and current affairs content, according to the amendment order signed by President Ram NathKovind on Monday.

This means that digital content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, Zee5, etc., will also be regulated by the Union Ministry headed by PrakashJavadekar. Before this, there was no law or autonomous body governing digital content.

While the Press Council of India (PCI) looks after the print media, the television news channels come under the News Broadcasters Association (NBA). The Advertising Standards Council of India regulates the advertisements' content, and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films. At present, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content or Over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

There was also a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) for regulating OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by an autonomous body. The PIL stated that digital content on these platforms is made available to the public without any filter or screening. The plea has alleged that none of the OTT platforms have signed for the self-regulation provided by the I&B ministry since February 2020.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian had issued notices to the central government, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), and Internet and Mobile Association of India(IAMAI).