I&B ministry forms committee to regulate online media

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has formed a committee to suggest and frame a regulatory framework for online media news portals, including digital broadcasting.

This includes entertainment and infotainment sites and news/media aggregators.

“There are no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals including digital broadcasting like entertainment, infotainment sites and news/media aggregators,” said the I&B ministry in an order dated April 4, 2018.

It added that, on the other hand, print and electronic media have their content regulated. There are also mechanisms to deal with violations when it comes to content telecast on television channels, the ministry said.

Press Council of India regulates print media in the country, while television channels are required to adhere to the Cable Television Networks (Regulations) Act, 1995.

This nine-member committee will have representatives from Press Council of India, Indian Broadcasting Foundation and News Broadcasters Association, apart from secretaries of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Ministry of Home Affairs, the Department of Legal Affairs and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion.

The Information and Broadcasting Secretary will be the convenor of this committee.

The committee will look into delineating the sphere of online information dissemination, which it said needs to be brought under regulation. This will be on the lines applicable for print and electronic media.

Further, the committee will also recommend appropriate policy formation for online media, content platforms and news portals, keeping in mind the current foreign direct investment norms, code for television channels and PCI norms, among others.

Also, they will look at the international scenario on such existing regulatory mechanisms with a view to incorporate the best practices.

Just two days ago, the Prime Minister’s Office advised the I&B Ministry to withdraw its press release on fake news and said the decision on what amounts to fake news should be left to bodies such the Press Council of India.

I&B ministry had announced norms to contain fake news, which said if the publication or telecast of fake news was confirmed, accreditation of the journalist would be suspended for six months in the case of a first violation, and for one year in the case of a second violation.

For a third violation, their press accreditation would be cancelled permanently, the ministry had said.moneycontrol