With fear of curbing creative expression in India, the central government has brought Over The Top (OTT) streaming platforms along with online news and current affairs platforms under the ambit of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
In a gazette notification issued on November 10 and signed by Hon’ble President Ram Nath Kovind, “films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers” and “news and current affairs content on online platforms” would come under the scrutiny of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in the Second Schedule of Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961.
These OTT and online news platforms will be inserted under the sub-heading of the above Schedule –
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.
What does this mean is that OTT video or audio streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney + Hotstar and others will be/can be regulated by the government of India. The I&B ministry now has full jurisdiction over these platforms.
It to be noted, that until now there is no government body or an autonomous body regulates the content in these OTT platforms. While the Press Council of India, regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) looks into the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India, regulates advertising, while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films. Thus print media, TV, radio, and films were regulated, only OTT remained unregulated until now.