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Now a govt committee to regulate online media

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Now a govt committee to regulate online media

The government has constituted a committee for framing regulations for online media, news portals and online content. An official order (dated 4 April, 2018) in this regard has been issued by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

“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 order read.

According to the order, the committee comprises 10 members, including Secretary, I&B-Convenor; Secretary, MeitY; Secretary MHA; Secretary, Dept of Legal Affair; Secretary, DIPP and CEP, MyGov. The committee will also have representatives of the Press Council of India, News Broadcasting Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation.

The Terms of Reference (TOR) of the committee, according to the order, includes delineating “the sphere of online information dissemination which needs to be brought under regulation, on the lines applicable for print and electronic media.”

The committee will also “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 FDI norms, Programme & Advertising Code for TV channels, norms circulated by PC, code of ethics framed by NBA and norms prescribed by IBF.”

The newly formed committee will “analyse the international scenario on such existing regulatory mechanisms with view to incorporate the best practices.”

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 are required to adhere to the Programme & Advertising Codes mentioned in the CTN ACT and there exists a mechanism for dealing with any violations. Similarly, the Press Council of India, has its own norms to regulate the print media.

But “there are no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals including digital broadcasting like entertainment/infotainment & news/media aggregators,” the order read. “Therefore, it has been decided to constitute a committee to frame and suggest a regulatory framework...,” it added.

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