"Today print media, news, GECs (general entertainment channels) and theatrical films are all governed and regulated in some way".
Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers.
"These rules may be called the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Three Hundred and Fifty Seventh Amendment Rules, 2020". This move by the government also comes after the ministry shot down a proposal by the Online Curated Content Providers (OCCPs) to self-regulate.
The central government has issued a notification, bringing digital news platforms, OTT platforms, and content providers under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B Ministry). It had earlier written to the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) about for transfer of control over the OTT platforms.
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The official had reasoned that "there is a need for convergence of various ministries (in this regard), particularly in the ways changes are happening, (it) is extremely necessary". The clampdown would be in and those who presented a different or dissenting point of view, may be restrained, says Akash Bannerjee who runs the hugely popular desh bhakt online social and political satire portal with 3 million subscriber base across four social media platform.
"The government is facing heat to fill this lacuna with regulations from the public and the judiciary; still the relevant government departments have not done anything significant to regularise these OTT and streaming platforms", the plea said. But that doesn't mean we will bring everybody under a heavy regulatory structure. Many punitive measures that were introduced by the UPA government have been taken forward by the NDA government, the report observed. Though this section too was challenged in court, it was upheld as constitutional.
In an affidavit that was signed by an under secretary in the MIB, the Centre said sufficient framework and judicial pronouncements already exist with regard to electronic and print media. "Several cases have been filed before various courts in the last few years, seeking regulation of the same and this (kind of regulation) was coming", Chandrima Mitra, partner at DSK Legal said.
The move by the world's second largest internet market is bound to make players like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney's Hotstar, Times Internet's MX Player, and dozens of other streaming services and web-based news outlets more cautious about what all they choose to stream and publish on their platforms, an executive with one of the top streaming services told TechCrunch, requesting anonymity.