The Government of India on Wednesday issued an order to task the Information and Broadcasting Ministry with regulating online news portals, OOT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and current affairs portals.
The order to subject online films, audio-visual programmes, online news, current affairs on online platforms to the control of the I&B Ministry headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, has been approved by the president of India.
"This is simply bringing ‘content’ from under the purview of IT to I&B. OTT though is a new platform, and concerns regarding content couldn’t be raised with the government earlier; now this will be possible. I&B now will be the nodal ministry," India Today quoted the Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources as saying.
The new amendment, reflecting an order issued on 9 November means that the government can intervene in the release of online audio-visual or news content which has been deemed objectionable.
Several people instantly took to Twitter to react and called it “censorship of web content”, but some termed it important.
Funny how when it comes to content censorship, RW want the government to babysit everyone they don't like. In this case, they want maximum government, maximum governance and maximum interference.— Meghnad 🔗 (@Memeghnad) November 11, 2020
But when it comes to other businesses, they want complete freedom to exploit.
Is there any ray of hope left??— Nafees Al Hasan (@MdNafeesAlHasan) November 11, 2020
Gov issues order bringing online content & news under information and broadcasting ministry #ANI#FreePress #FreedomOfSpeech#bbchardtalkrezapahlavi #NDTVExclusive#media #news
Finally censorship of web content:— dhiraj chowdhary (@dhirajchoudha20) November 11, 2020
Government issues order bringing online films and audio-visual programmes, and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. pic.twitter.com/jz8IJUJe0n
Several Indian-made original content streamed by these OTT platforms have remained under the radar of conservative voices in the country, which have found fault with the content, which includes abusive language, intimate scenes and same-sex encounters.
India's Supreme Court had asked for the federal government's response last month to a petition that OTT platforms be regulated by an autonomous body.