The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will now regulate the content published or streamed on online news portals and OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ Hotstar, Sony Liv and ZEE5 among others.

The Cabinet Secretariat issued the notification signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday night. “The decision has been taken in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution, by amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 and it will come into effect immediately,” the government notification read.

With the move, the I&B Ministry will now be able to regulate the news content and censor the audio and visual content that feature in a film or web series streaming on these OTT platforms.

“These rules may be called the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Three Hundred and Fifty Seventh Amendment Rules, 2020. They shall come into force at once.

“In the Government of India (Allocation of Business, 1961, in THE SECOND SCHEDULE, under the heading ‘MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING (SOOCHANA AUR PRASARAN MANTRALAYA)’ after entry 22, the following sub-heading and entries shall be inserted, namely:- VA. DIGITAL/ONLINE MEDIA. 22A. Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers. 22B. News and current affairs content on online platforms,” the notification read further.

Business Insider quoted Digital market expert and Media & Entertainment Partner at Induslaw, Tanu Banerjee, saying: “In my view, it should be a collaborative approach between the Govt and OTT platforms players to come up with a mechanism to make the internet a better place for its users.”