I&B ministry forms committee to frame rules for regulating online news / media portals

As per reports, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has constituted a committee to frame rules to regulate news portals and media websites, according to an official order which came a day after the government withdrew its contentious guidelines on fake news following widespread criticism.

The committee will also have representatives of the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation.

The order said the content on private television channels are regulated by the Programme and Advertisement Codes, while the Press Council of India (PCI) has its norms to regulate the print media.

It said there were no norms or guidelines to regulate the online media websites and news portals.

Therefore, it has been decided to constitute a committee to frame and suggest a regulatory framework for online media/news portals including digital broadcasting and entertainment/infotainment sites and news/media aggregators.

The Terms of Reference of the Committee are to be:

  1. To delienate the sphere of online information dissemination which needs to be brought under regulation, on the lines applicable to print and electronic media.
  2. To recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media / news portals and online content platforms including digital broadcasting which encompasses entertainment / infotainment and news/media aggregators keeping in mind the extant FDI norms, Programme & Advertising Code for TV Channels, norms circulated by PCI, code of ethics framed by NBA and norms prescribed by IBF, and
  3. To analyze the international scenario on such existing regulatory mechanismswith a view to incorporate the best practices.

The reasons for the government finding this necessary, as per the circular are that content on online media websites are not regulated by any norms or guidelines unlike print or television media.

The committee will also analyse the international scenario on the existing of regulatory mechanism with a view to incorporate the best practices.