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HomeIndiaNetflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, digital news media brought under I&B ministry jurisdiction

Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, digital news media brought under I&B ministry jurisdiction

I&B ministry had been seeking jurisdiction over OTTs and digital media platforms due to a lack of clarity over regulations on content.

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New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has brought all digital media platforms, including news media and online curated content providers (OCCPs), under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

A notification dated 9 November issued by the Cabinet Secretariat announced changes to the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961 to bring in all digital media platforms under the I&B ministry.

So far, digital media platforms were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) while other media such as print, television and radio were under the I&B ministry.

But the I&B ministry had been seeking jurisdiction over digital platforms due to a lack of clarity over regulations on content.

The new notification means that OCCPs such as digital news portals and video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar will now come under the I&B ministry. However, user-generated content, such as what is streamed on YouTube or Facebook, will continue to remain under MeitY.

An I&B ministry official told ThePrint that the modalities of the implementation of the order are yet to be worked out.

“This means all online news content and those streamed by video streaming platforms will come under I&B jurisdiction. But, discussions will start now to decide on how exactly to implement it for all platforms,” the official said.

Also read: Coming soon on Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ Hotstar — warnings with smoking scenes

What the industry says

Industry sources told ThePrint that the move is welcome as there will be greater clarity over the jurisdiction of such content. “Earlier, there was no clarity over content aired by either digital news or video streaming platforms, but this brings more clarity,” a source said.

But some sources were also apprehensive about the implications of the move.

In television broadcasting, there is the inter-ministerial committee and the content is guided by self-regulating bodies such as the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council and the News Broadcasting Standards Authority, said a second source.

But OCCPs have so far failed to arrive at a regulatory consensus that is also acceptable to the government. Now, there could be pressure to finalise this self-regulation.

What government sources say

Government sources told ThePrint that the I&B ministry had been working on this move for some time, as is evident by the number of steps taken towards digital media platforms in recent days.

In a press release last month, the ministry said it will in the “near future” consider extending PIB accreditation to digital media journalists, adding that such platforms will also be eligible for government advertisements. It also said that these platforms should form self-regulating bodies “for furthering their interests and interaction with the government”.

During a hearing in Supreme Court over the telecast of a controversial programme on Sudarshan News, the government had called regulation of digital media as it claimed that digital web-based news portals, YouTube channels and OTT platforms should be considered mainstream media.

Last year, for entities engaged in the news digital media sector, the government had approved foreign direct investment up to 26 per cent through the government approval route.

Also read: Better than Netflix, torrents — Why Telegram is the new destination for movies, shows online


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  1. Say hello to the death of free media and upcoming propagandas. It won’t be too late when these media sources (Netflix, Prime etc.) start producing and airing shows very much aimed at and to allure more and more right wing audience. I reckon this would leave Akshay Kumar quite busy…

  2. Good move, about time. It’s time to rein in fascist junk like the Wire, Quint, … from promoting anti-national contempt with impunity.

  3. Are you sure that The Print won’t come under the scope of this notification? Disseminating news and opinions is also a media function.

  4. Another nail in the coffin for free media. This govt. is trying to curb any form of media that might show things that go against its agenda. Very scary!

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