Govt’s OTT move aimed to put content in one place while platforms in another: I&B Secy

By: |
December 16, 2020 9:29 PM

The idea behind putting OTT platforms as well as news and current affairs content on online platforms under the information and broadcasting ministry was to bring all content in one place

Now, OTT and other platforms, including digital news websites, are expected to fall within a governmental framework of rules and regulations. Representational image

The idea behind putting OTT platforms as well as news and current affairs content on online platforms under the information and broadcasting ministry was to bring all content in one place, I&B Ministry Secretary Amit Khare said on Wednesday. Speaking at the CII’s Big Picture Summit, Khare said the role of the government in this sector is that of a facilitator.

Referring to the amendment in the Allocation of Business Rules in November, the I&B secretary said that the idea behind the change, was to bring content at one place that is the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, while keeping platforms at another place that is the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The government in November put OTT platforms such as Netflix as well as news and current affairs content on online platforms under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and gave it powers to regulate policies and rules for the digital space.

There was no law or autonomous body governing digital content in India so far. Now, OTT and other platforms, including digital news websites, are expected to fall within a governmental framework of rules and regulations.

Speaking about the November change, Khare said, “I am just clarifying this because in the past summits, in the various media circles, particularly in the print circles, there used to be a discussion that online and offline content should not be treated differently.” “The same content if it is online, is treated in one fashion, and if it is offline, it is treated by some other ministry in another manner,” he said.

Khare said the I&B Ministry has the largest influence among all ministries and that influence comes only through the private sector. He added that almost all the film making in the country was done by the private sector, all the channels, except Prasar Bharati, were private and the OTT sector was entirely private. The media and entertainment industry has grown and must be facilitated, he said.

This COVID-19 pandemic, Khare said, has opened new avenues like educational technologies and Indian gaming which also have an export potential.

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