I&B Ministry will now monitor the content of OTT platforms and digital news
In a move to censor OTT platforms, the government has brought digital content including news, web shows, and streaming platforms under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
The government has already issued the notification. As per the notification, online films, digital news and current affairs content now comes under the purview of the I&B Ministry headed by Prakash Javadekar. Now the next step could be the framing content guidelines.
As of now, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content. Back in September, IMAI brought a few OTT platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, ALTBalaji, and ZEE5, to sign a code of self-regulation for digital content. But this wasn’t accepted by MIB as it wants a tighter set of guidelines for digital medium.
OTT platforms are now filled with contents that show violence, sex, and abusive language. So, there was a demand for regulating this content similar to what the censor board does for movies.
For the news content, the Press Council of India regulates the print media and News Broadcasters Association (NBA) represents the news channels. But there is nothing that can monitor digital news platforms and new channels operating on YouTube.
Some so-called activists have already started crying for digital freedom. As a valuable citizen, you shouldn’t fall for their agenda. I have already mentioned different bodies governing content. When there’s the Press Council of India and MBA regulating news channels, I don’t think it is hurting press freedom in any way. Regulating bodies is necessary to stop the abuse of digital platforms. Each day, we see a new news website publishing fake agenda.
It will be too early to say anything until there’s a draft of guidelines ready. The draft will decide whether this is a censorship or regulation. So, have patience and wait.