Digital news portals, OTT platforms like Netflix now under govt regulation

A person watching Netflix on their device
Digital current affairs and news portals along with online content providers such as Netflix and Hotstar have been brought under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Central government said in an order.

Presently, India does not have an autonomous body that governs online content.

The notification, which was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, detailed that films, audio-visual programmes, news and current affairs content online platforms be brought under the ministry of information and broadcasting, presently headed by Prakash Javadekar.

The print media is currently overlooked by the Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association represents television news channels in the country. Films are monitored by the Central Board of Film Certification.

In October, the Supreme Court of India issued a notice to the central government and the Internet and Mobile Association of India seeking regulation of over-the-top platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video. The petition, filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha, looked for the setting up of an autonomous body to monitor and filter content on these OTT portals.

The petition had said that streaming platforms have allowed movie makers and artists to release their content without filters and screenings.

In September, the I&B ministry had told the Supreme Court that digital media needs to be regulated, citing that it has a "faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook." Digital media also has a serious impact because of its reach, it had added.

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