After Aborted “Fake News” Order, Centre Turns Focus On Online Media

After Aborted “Fake News” Order, Centre Turns Focus On Online Media

According to an order of the information ministry of April 4, a 10-member committee will recommend formation of appropriate policy for online media.

Centre forms committee to establish regulatory framework for online media
Committee set up day after ministry withdrew guidelines on fake news
It includes officials from PCI, News Broadcasters Association

NEW DELHI: In a move to establish regulatory framework for online media and news portals, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has set up a committee that will recommend formation of appropriate policy.

The committee, which has Secretary of the ministry as its convener, was set up a day after the ministry withdrew its guidelines on fake news following directions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to an order of the ministry of April 4, the 10-member committee includes secretaries of the ministries of Home, and Electronics and Information Technology, and the departments of Legal Affairs, and Industrial Policy and Promotion.

It also has a representatives from the Press Council of India, News Broadcasters Association and the Indian Broadcasters Federation.

The Terms of the reference (ToR) of the committee include delineation of the sphere of online information dissemination which needs to be brought under regulation, on the lines applicable to the print and electronic media.

The committee will recommend appropriate policy formulation for online media/ news portals and online content platforms, including digital broadcasting, that encompasses entertainment, infotainment and news and media aggregators.

“It will do so keeping in mind the existing FDI norms, programmes and advertising code for TV channels and norms circulated by the representative bodies of media organisations,” the order said.

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

The order said the content on private television channels is regulated by the Programme and Advertisement Codes, while the PCI has norms to regulate the print media.

“There are 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,” it said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government had made a hasty retreat on Tuesday as the Prime Minister withdrew within hours of release of his government’s order that threatened to take away the accreditation of journalists involved in producing “fake news”.

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