According to the amendment order signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday, the government has issued an order to bring online mediums, including films and news content, under the ministry of information and broadcasting. The I & B ministry will also regulate online audio-visual programmes and current affairs 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 is for regulating the content of the advertisements and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films.
But at present, no law or autonomous body governs the digital content. All digital content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar will now be regulated by the Union ministry headed by Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar.
Last year, Prakash Javadekar stated that the government will not take any step which may curb media freedom. He also added that there should be some kind of regulation on over-the-top platforms (OTT), as there is for the print and electronic media as well as films.
Last month, the Supreme Court had looked for the Centre’s response on 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.
A bench including 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).
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