Digital media publishers, including OTT and digital news platforms, have been given 15 days’ time by the Information and the Broadcasting ministry to furnish details on their compliance with the new guidelines on digital media ethics that were issued in February.
In February, the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 had outlined for the first time how digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT streaming services will be regulated by the government. I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said that the tightening of rules governing social media and streaming companies was done to stop fake news.
The Ministry said these new IT rules are designed "to establish a soft touch progressive institutional mechanism with a level playing field featuring a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework for news publishers and OTT platforms on the digital media".
The new rules also included a strict oversight mechanism involving several ministries and a code of ethics that bans content affecting "the sovereignty and integrity of India". The committee will reportedly have representatives from the ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT and Women and Child Development.
The new guidelines state that content involving nudity and morphed pictures of women will have to be removed in 24 hours of a complaint being raised. "They will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism, a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days," said Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Moreover, publishers of news on digital media are required to observe rules of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.