The Central government has issued a notification to include digital and online media as well as news and current affairs content online under the domain of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B). Content made available by online providers will also come under the Ministry.
According to the government order, signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules 1961 has been amended to include ‘Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers’ as well as ‘News and current affairs content on online platforms’.
With this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will have the authority to regulate policies related to the content available on online platforms. In short, online streaming portals such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar will now be subject to the same censorship rules as that of television. These rules that will likely be called the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Three Hundred and Fifty Seventh Amendment Rules, 2020, will come into force at once.
To date, digital media platforms were under the jurisdiction of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), while other media such as print, television and radio were under I&B ministry. Although 15 streaming services signed a universal self-regulation code under the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in September 2020, I&B, however didn’t support the self-regulation code. They wrote to IAMAI saying that the code didn't have a list of prohibited content.