As per the latest orders of the Indian Government, all online content including OTT platforms as well as digital news portals will now come under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Notably, there were no law or autonomous bodies governing this content so far.

The notification issued on Monday has also been signed the Indian President Ram NathKovind and will be the first to govern the online content in the country. I&B Ministry regulations will now be binding on all the online news portals as well as news content published or shared on various social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The order also extends to less restricted OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar. All the audio-visuals, movies or news content posted on online platforms will now be under government control under the domain of the Ministry of I&B.

Governing Bodies for News and Media in India

PCI or the Press Council of India is responsible for keeping a check on print media and the NBA or the News Broadcasters Association is responsible for governing TV news channels. Additionally, Advertising Standards Council of India and Central Board of Film Certification are responsible for advertising and films respectively.While there are various autonomous bodies for other mediums of journalism, there was none for the New Media/ digital content.

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Latest government orders have also come after the Apex Court recently sought centre’s response on a petition for regulating OTT platforms by an autonomous body. In the petition heard last month, Supreme Court had issued notices to the Centre, Ministry of I&B as well as to the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

Over the top platforms which are often simply referred to as OTT platforms include both online news portals as well as streaming services like Prime and Netflix. OTT platforms by definition refer to all portals and platforms which ride on an operator’s network or are accessible over the internet.

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Digital media and streaming platforms had become well known to provide more creative freedom to both artists and film makers in contrast to the Censor Board worries in traditional media. They have also encompassed much popularity among viewers in the recent years. However, it may all change soon with the government’s latest orders.

Share your thoughts on OTT streaming services and news portals going under the government control in the comments below.

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