In the first step to regulate digital content, the government has issued orders bringing online films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers, and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The change is part of a comprehensive exercise at the I&B ministry to enact a new law that would decriminalise offences under the 1867-vintage Press and Registration of Books Act and make it mandatory for news websites to get themselves registered with the Registrar of Newspapers of India (RNI). The proposed law is to be placed before the Union Cabinet soon.
The presidential order amending the powers of the information and broadcasting ministry was issued on Monday, weeks after a public interest litigation was filed in the Supreme Court that sought directions to the Centre to set up a mechanism to monitor, manage and regulate content on over-the-top(OTT) platforms,video streaming platforms. The order brought films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers and news and current affairs content on online platforms under the purview of the I&B ministry. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar will now be governed by the I&B Ministry.