Setting Regulations on Indian Media: Let’s See How Existing Rules Are Converted to the Digital Domain

It is a mistake to say that digital media was unregulated before the introduction of the current bill. For example, through the judiciary, all forms of media have external forms of regulation.

In November 2020, the President of India issued a notice amending the 1961 Government (Business Allocation) Regulations. Grant jurisdiction To the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting about the regulation of digital news platform and OTT platform. Two new entries have been added: Movies and Audiovisual Programs and Online Platform News and Current Affairs.

The central government recently submitted to the Supreme Court that digital media is “uncontrolled” and needs to be regulated.United Ministry of Information and Broadcasting told the Supreme Court Every effort to regulate Media must start with digital media.This stance was taken by the Center during the hearing of the case concerning Sudarshan TVThe controversial “UPSC Jihad” program, where the court was considering a framework of guidelines for regulating television channels.

The existing legal architecture, case law, and proposed legislative framework raise significant concerns about freedom of speech and fair regulation. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting included a digital media platform in its definition of news media. Draft press registration bill, Introduced in 2019. Section 2 (k) of the bill reads “Digital Media News”Digitized news“including”Text, audio, video, graphicsCan be sent over the Internet, computer, or mobile network.

Another problem with this bill is that the central and state governments can develop appropriate rules / regulations to regulate the criteria / conditions for issuing government advertisements in newspapers and accrediting newspapers.When you think about it The prominent role of government advertising When it comes to financial maintenance of media organizations, this allocation should instead be done in a nonpartisan way. The delegated legislative powers give a wide range of arbitrariness while constructing rules and regulations related to advertising. Governments can also formulate some rules that are beneficial to a particular company that is the parent government. As history has already shown..

In addition, in 2019, the Council of Ministers Decided to limit Foreign direct investment in digital media was 26%, while TV news channel limits were kept at 49%. This has a number of implications from news organizations that rely on global financial resources.

Traditional media regulation settings

These measures were introduced to address the lack of regulation in digital media and were juxtaposed with regulations in print and broadcast media. Most of these are more related to the nature of the media than the content, so this largely ignores the context in which these regulations apply. It is often said that print media has a myriad of regulations, including the Indian Press Commission, book publication registration laws, and other minor laws and regulations. However, most of these laws are beyond their usefulness or are somehow invalidated, so it is important to understand the context and operation of these laws and the nature of their regulation. ..

Take the 1867 Book Publishing and Registration Act, Obviously colonial law This requires the registration and identification of newspaper publishers, editors and printers and requires liability for legal violations. The law played a role in a broader attempt to monitor various forms of knowledge dissemination within the country.It Better control is possible Beyond the press and book publishing industry, and in limiting speech. Many of the stricter provisions have been removed, but the law continues to exist without its actual purpose, as such registration and information gathering has no real place in democratic societies.

Next is the Indian Press Council. Press Council Act of 1978.. This agency was established as a self-regulatory agency that empowers newspapers and editors to conduct investigations. There is also detailed journalism ethics, the breach of which may be ruled by the council. After an emergency, There was a considerable amount of respect and respect given to it. Leading lawyers representing the Media House in the previous case of PCI, their press releases and decisions were widely reported. But over the years, the council has had little respect for its processes and decisions, and has been largely ineffective by large media houses. To that extent, newspapers have little, if any, regulation of ethical behavior.

This lack of regulation is even more typical for broadcast news channels where the content is not government regulated.Regulatory approval for broadcast media Related to getting a license Clear TV channel uplinks, etc. based on eligibility criteria. These licensing mechanisms are bureaucratic and certainly filled with red tape, but they come from the media as broadcasters rather than acting as news agencies. The only ethical or content-based management is through a voluntary organization established by the broadcasting industry. National Broadcasting Standards Authority, This is not supported by any law.

External regulatory pressure on digital news platforms

It is a mistake to say that digital media was unregulated before the introduction of the current bill.There is External form of regulation For example, in all forms of media through the judiciary. Existing laws that limit freedom of speech and expression apply to all forms of speech.

In addition, the Indian Criminal Code (IPC) contains several provisions that limit speech and expression applicable to the media. These crimes include sedition (section 124A), defamation (sections 499 and 500), obscenity (section 292), and hate speech (sections 153A, 153B, 295A, 298 and 505).

Other statutes limiting aspects of freedom of speech and expression are the Contempt of Court, 1971, Civil Rights Act, 1923, Cable Television Network Regulation Act, 1995, Filming Act, 1952, Obscene Women. Expression (Prohibition) Act, 1986, SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, Civil Rights Act, 1955, Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

More importantly, certain content-based restrictions on digital media can be applied under the Information Technology Act of 2000. The infamous section 66A of IT law, commonly used by the government, was unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Shreya Singhal vs. India Union Because of the ambiguity and vastness, and the resulting chilling effect on speech. There are many other provisions that continue to regulate online content such as Section 69A, Section 79, etc.

Section 69A allows governments to block public information for reasons mentioned by law. Article 79 allows the government to force intermediaries to remove any kind of unwanted content.

In light of the above discussion, it is important to consider various policy design alternatives for digital media regulation.

Dawan is a 4th grade student at NLSIU in Bangalore
Rakhecha is a fifth grader at NALSAR in Hyderabad.

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Setting Regulations on Indian Media: Let’s See How Existing Rules Are Converted to the Digital Domain

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