Welcome to our fortnightly newsletter, where our reporters Harsh Jain and Harshita Lilani put together handpicked stories from the world of tech law! You can find other issues here.
Streaming platforms and online news portals brought under the purview of the I&B Ministry
The Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification on November 11, 2020 granting the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting authority over streaming platforms and online news portals. Simply put, this means that platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, etc. will now be under the jurisdiction of the I&B Ministry. While the I&B Ministry cannot regulate these platforms without specific laws being passed towards that end, the notification signals the intent of the government to bring out a regulatory code in the near future. Such a move was expected after Amit Khare, the Secretary of the I&B Ministry, expressed the Ministry’s intent to bring content streamed over OTT platforms under its purview. The online content sector, unlike radio, cinema and television, has till now remained free of censorship. In August 2020, more than a dozen OTT platforms operating in India such as Netflix, Zee5, Voot, Jio, SonyLiv, etc. had signed a self-regulation code aimed at empowering consumers with tools to assist them in making informed choice with regard to viewing decisions for them and their families but the I&B Ministry had refused to support the same.