The Government of India has issued an order to bring online films, audio-visual programmes and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, news agency ANI reported.

The order will effectively bring OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, and Amazon Prime Video etc. under the ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar.

The Centre, in its notification dated Tuesday, November 9 announced that the President has signed the order to comprise current affairs, digital news and film content under the authority of the I&B ministry.

Online news, current affairs content, online films and audio visual programs now under Government regulation

The government of India on Wednesday issued an executive order to bring the online news portals and current affairs programmes along with online films and audio-visual programmes made available by the online content provider under the purview of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

 

As per the latest Cabinet Secretariat notification, online news portals, current affairs programmes, online films and audio-visual programmes will now be made available by the online content provider under the I&B Ministry.

 

Currently, there is no law or any regulatory body for the regulation of online content provided on various OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Videos, online news portals among others, which are accessible over the internet or ride on an operator’s network.

On the other hand, the Press Council of India regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association looks after the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India monitors the advertising and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) supervise films.

Prakash Javadekar had said last year that “the government will not take any step that may curb media freedom”.

The Government has issued an order bringing online films and audio-visual programmes, and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Digital content providers and OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and others will now come under the ambit of the ministry. At present, there is no independent authority to oversee the digital content in the country.

A notification in this regard was issued by the cabinet secretariat stated that “films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers and news and current affairs content on online platforms” shall be included in the ‘India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.

The development has come days after the Supreme Court sought Centre’s response on a PIL seeking regulation on OTT platforms by an autonomous body.

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