The centre has already purchased films, audio-visuals, news and current affairs and placed it under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
The Union government of India has brought Over The Top (OTT) platforms, or video streaming service providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and other sites, and has placed it under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Till now, we didn’t have a law or autonomous body that governed digital content
The news was announced through a gazette on Wednesday and has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind which stated that online films, digital news and current affairs content are now under the purview of the I&B Ministry which is lead by Prakash Javadekar.
Why the government is doing this
The government had indicated the need to monitor such platforms over the past few years, and in October 2019, they stated that they will be issuing a “negative” list of don’ts for the streaming platforms. They also wanted the platforms to introduce a self-regulatory body which agrees with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.
Knowing that such an action will happen soon, eight video streaming services signed a self-regulatory code in January 2019 and put up a set of guiding principles for the content they will be showing.
The code has made the OTTs to ban five types of content. They are: content that deliberately or maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag, any visual or story line that promotes child pornography, any content that “maliciously” intends to outrage religious sentiments, content that “deliberately or maliciously” promotes or encourages terrorism, and finally, any content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by courts, or by the law.
We will have to sit and wait to see just how far the government will go with this. Knowing that our country is managed by old men who takes everything as a national offence, we would be in for a show.