- Government regulations also apply to news on social media
- Until now, there was no law, autonomous body governing digital content
- Last month, top court sought centre's response on a petition
The government has issued an order bringing online news portals and content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar under the Information and Broadcasting ministry. The notification, signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, was issued on Monday. The government regulations also apply to news on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Films, audio-visuals, and news and current affairs content on online platforms will come under the domain of the ministry.
Until now, there was no law or autonomous body governing digital content.
The Press Council of India takes care of the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes care of films.
Last month, the Supreme Court sought the centre's response on a petition for regulating over-the-top or OTT platforms by an autonomous body. The top court issued notices to the centre, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India.
OTT platforms include news portals and also streaming services such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, which are accessible over the internet or ride on an operator's network.
OTT/streaming and different digital media platforms have surely given a way out for film makers and artists to release their content without being worried about getting clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board, the petition said.
The Information and Broadcasting ministry had earlier told the top court in a separate case that there is a need to regulate digital media and that the court may first appoint a committee of persons as amicus before laying down guidelines with respect to the regulation of hate speech in the media.
Last year, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that the government will not take any step that may curb media freedom, adding there should be some kind of regulation on over-the-top platforms, as there is for the print and electronic media as well as films.