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GoI Issues Orders to bring Digital News Portals, Films, Content Providers under I&B Ministry by amending Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961

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Online News Media, Including Social Sites, Now Under Government ControlOn November 11, 2020, Government of India issued an order to bring digital or online Media, films and audio-visual programmes, news portal and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Ministry of I&B).This will include OTT (over-the-top) platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video & Online News Portal. In order to do bring this under Ministry of I&B President amended the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.

Amended Rule:

i.In Exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution Constitution, President made the rules to amend the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.

ii.The rules may be called Government of India (Allocation of Business) Three Hundred and Fifty Seventh Amendment Rules, 2020. 

iii.With this amendment, (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, in the 2nd schedule, under the heading “Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (Soochana Aur Prasaran Mantralaya) after entry 22, the following sub-heading and entries shall be inserted, viz.

VA. DIGITAL/ONLINE MEDIA

  • 22A. Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers.
  • 22B. News and current affairs content on online platforms.”

Key Points:

i.At present, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content.

ii.Digital Media Platforms were under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) while other media such as print, television and radio came under the I&B Ministry.

iii.Youtube, Facebook which generates user generated content continue to remain under MeitY.

Governing Bodies:

The Press Council of India regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) regulates the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India regulates Advertising, while Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films.

Note: –

The Government of India has allowed up to 26% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the ‘news digital media sector’ through approval route.

Background:

The rule was amended inline with the I&B ministry stated that digital media needs to be regulated, citing that it has a “faster reach, potential to become viral due to apps like WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook.” Digital media also has a serious impact because of its reach.And to overcome this drawback the government of India had amended the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.

Recent Related News:

i.On June 2, 2020, the Expert Committees on Rationalisation/Closure/Merger of Film Media Units, and on Review of Autonomous Bodies under the aegis of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) submitted their report to Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar.

ii.A 92-page e-booklet called ‘One Year of Modi 2.0 – Towards A Self-Reliant India’ on the key achievements of the Modi government during its second term was released on June 1, 2020, by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). 

About Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (Ministry of I&B):

Union Minister – Prakash Javadekar

Headquarters – New Delhi