Centre gives 15 days to OTT platforms, digital news sites for complying with new IT rules

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has sought compliance reports from digital news websites and OTT platforms in 15 days. In a notice dated May 26, the ministry attached three separate forms for OTT platforms print or TV outlets with digital channels and digital-only news websites and asked them to furnish information under Rule 18 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

According to the government’s new rules, the three-level grievance redressal mechanism will include self-regulation by publishers within 15 days, self-regulation by publishers’ self-regulating bodies which will address grievances not resolved in a fortnight, and oversight mechanism by the I&B ministry which will establish an inter-departmental committee for hearing grievances.

The government had notified these rules in February. “The publishers may furnish the information to the ministry in the applicable format within 15 days of the issue of this notice,” said the ministry.

“Since newspapers are registered under Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, and private satellite TV channels are permission holders under the uplinking and downlinking guidelines of the ministry, a separate format for furnishing information…has been devised for such entities publishing news and current affairs on digital media,” the notice said, adding there were separate forms for digital news publishers and OTT platforms.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar interacted with publishers of online curated content and with publishers of news on digital media. The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) expressed concern on the recent notifications.

“While NBA appreciates the need for regulations, the traditional news media need not be subjected to and/or covered under the scope of the IT Rules 2021, since it is already sufficiently regulated by various statutes, laws, guidelines and codes, regulations, and judgements,” said a statement from the NBA.