Smriti Irani starts constituting regulation committee to set standards for online media and news portals

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has decided to constitute a committee for the regulation of online media websites. A letter dated April 4 states that the ministry will form a committee to suggest a regulatory framework for online media like news portals including digital broadcasting like entertainment/infotainment and news.

The letter lists the secretary, I&B as the convenor and secretaries of the ministries of Law, Home, Electronics and Information Technology, and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotions. The CEO of MyGov and one representative each from the Press Council of India (PCI), News Broadcaster’s Association (NBA) and the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) will also be part of the committee.

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The letter states that while the content telecast on private satellite channels and cable TV are under the regulations of the Cable Television Network Regulations Act, 1995 and the independent body PCI has its own norms to regulate the print media, there are no norms or guidelines to regulate the content of online media. The proposed committee is expected to work in close associations of the PCI, NBA and the IBF while laying out regulations for the content presented to the public through online portals.

This letter comes after the Prime Minister’s Office advised the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that any attempts at regulations of online media should be done by independent bodies like PCI.

The ministry of I & B has expressed its concern over the menace of fake news circulated rampantly to mislead the public and had attempted to take disciplinary steps to stop journalists from spreading fake news. After the PMO struck down the proposal, the ministry has now come up with the proposal of the regulation committee as per the directive of the PMO.

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