MIB forms committee to frame regulation for online content, websites

MUMBAI: The ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) has formed a 10-member committee to formulate regulations for online media/news portals and online content.

The committee will comprise of MIB secretary, who will also be the convener of the committee. It also includes secretaries of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Department of Legal Affairs, and Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP).

Apart from the secretaries, the committee also includes CEO of MyGov besides representatives of Press Council of India (PCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA), and India Broadcasting Foundation (IBF). Additionally, the convener can give representation to any department/organisation deemed fit.

The terms of reference of the committee is to delineate the sphere of online information dissemination which needs to be brought under regulation, on the lines applicable for print and electronic media.

It will also have to recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media/news portals and online content platforms including digital broadcasting which encompasses entertainment/ infotainment & news/ media aggregators, keeping in mind the extant foreign direct investment (FDI) norms, programme & advertising Code for TV channels, norms circulated by PCI code of ethics framed by NBA and norms prescribed by IBF.

It also has to analyse the international scenario on such existing regulatory mechanisms with a view to incorporate the best practices.

The ministry noted that the content telecast on private satellite TV channels and transmitted/re-transmitted through the Cable TV are regulated in terms of the Programme and Advertisement Codes prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (CTN) (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Cable Television Networks Rules. 1994 framed thereunder.

TV channels, it stated, are required to adhere to the Programme & Advertising Codes mentioned in the CTN ACT and there exists a well-settled mechanism for dealing with any violations.

Similarly, Press Council of India (PCI), which is an autonomous body, also has its own norms to regulate the print media, the MIB noted.

While TV and print are regulated, the ministry pointed out that there are no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals including digital broadcasting like entertainment/infotainment & news/media aggregators.

“Therefore, it has been decided to constitute a committee to frame and suggest a regulatory framework for online media/news portals including digital broadcasting and entertainment/infotainment sites & news/media aggregators,” the MIB said in its order dated 4 April.

I&B minister Smriti Irani has time and again emphasised the need to regulate online media.

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