The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has constituted 10-member committee to regulate online portals, including news websites, entertainment sites and media aggregators.
The committee will include secretaries of departments of Home, Electronics and Information and Technology, Legal Affairs and Industrial Policy and Promotion. The CEO of MyGov and representative each of Press Council of India (PCI) and National Broadcasters’ Association (NBA) will also be part of committee.
The committee will look to bring online information dissemination under regulation. It will propose policy for foreign direct investment (FDI) in this media. It will to look at international best practices on such existing regulatory mechanism. It will cover print and electronic media as well as entertainment sites.
At present both print and electronic media are regulated but online media (print and electronic media as well as entertainment sites) does not come under any regulatory mechanism. The content telecast on television channels are regulated in terms of programme and advertisement codes under Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. Similarly, autonomous body Press Council of India (PCI) regulates the print media.
The social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter which are widely used for online information dissemination comes under purview of Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications and IT and don’t fall in domain of I&B ministry, which looks at news, entertainment, infotainment, films and music.
Brainstorming over regulation of online news content had started because Government has felt that large numbers of people were depending on online media for news and that there should be some mechanism to check spread of misinformation (fake news) on the internet.