Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar will be regulated by the government now. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting now has authority over online content providers such as the aforesaid three streaming services and online news platforms as per the order issued by Government. As of now, there was no government body which managed the content of digital media platforms and as mentioned previously this is something which was required by the Information and Broadcasting minister. There are some other forms of content which are regulated by government bodies like the Press Council of India, the News Broadcasters Association, the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Central Board of Film Certification.
On 09th November the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, signed into law a new amendment to the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 which included the below two rules to the scope of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:
“VA. Digital / Online Media
22A. Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers.
22B. News and current affairs content on online platforms.”
These inclusions will be added under V. column, section “Films” in the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961. Online content providers and online news platforms now sit alongside cable television, All India Radio and Doordarshan as organisations which come under I&B’s regulatory framework.
I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar, over two weeks ago had given hint that the government may regulate online platforms. While speaking with The Indian Express, he said “I have called them twice to talk about a credible self-regulation method, but they have not come up with a proposal.”
In a meeting with representatives of streaming services back in March, he has quoted the need for regulation for a while now, having brought up the government-imposed censorship environment of countries such as China and Singapore.