OTT Regulation – UPSC GS3

  • Gazette notification placing online news and current affairs portals under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • Detrimental to press freedom
  • Fear of pre-censorship
  • Circumventing judicial scrutiny as Sudarshan News case is still pending in SC.
  • Self regulation proposals given by sector have been ignored by the government.
  • There is the fear that this move could make the media institutionally captive.
  • The move seems to neglect the fact that the issue of freedom of the press and freedom of expression are currently under judicial scrutiny in the Sudarshan News channel issue.
  • Similarly, another public interest litigation is pending in the Supreme Court relating to content on “Over The Top” (OTT) platforms not being subject to regulation or official oversight.
  • This move of the central government could be aimed at circumventing any judicial pronouncement on this issue.
  • The explanation that the print media have the oversight of the Press Council of India and the TV media of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA), and therefore the digital media needed a regulatory framework is not convincing enough.
  • The Press Council of India and the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) are professional bodies while placing digital media under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting would mean placing it under direct government regulation.
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