In recent news, the Modi government is looking at implementing a new law for news on TV and digital platforms. Currently, there are no legislative provisions governing online news platforms and OTTs. The new law is said to be set on the lines of the Press Council Act that governs news publications.
The law might also include non-news channels and take OTT platforms under them, including other channels that stream films and series. The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is planning on releasing guidelines for content on OTT platforms soon, but officials say there will be a framework set separately for online and electronic media.
“Every OTT platform was earlier under the bailiwick of the Ministry of Electronics and Technology (MeitY), which did not have the right or just modalities to exercise the required amount of powers in order to limit or demarcate the nature of the content being showcased on these platforms”, says Vinay Tewari, Managing Editor of Mirror Now Network. It was just like cutting vegetables with a sword. That’s one of the major reasons that the government has decided to bring the OTT platforms under the lens of the I&B Ministry.
The Press Council of India has time and again proposed that the government set up a common PCI-like body to regulate all media platforms (online, on TV and in print).
The new guidelines will put a check on the content offered by these platforms and promote the sifting of information. It also bars these platforms from exhibiting some explicit content, which for some, is respite. Ashish Vidyarthi, correspondent of ETV UP says, “Most of us, unbiased of the age group, are more prone to be impacted as we are being exposed to some raw, unfiltered content: shows, movies and documentaries”.
However, the ideas around the framework are still said to be fluid and discussions on the new law are still underway.