According to media reports, the government considers a code of ethics for the OTT platforms and other digital media companies. In the document titled Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the government seeks powers provided to it under section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. As per the section, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette and the Electronic Gazette, make rules to carry out this Act’s provisions.
The code is likely to direct intermediaries and online curated content companies to follow “due caution and discretion” while airing content that may affect India’s sovereignty and integrity, threaten or jeopardise the state’s security and be detrimental to the country’s foreign relations, said a media report.
According to the media report, the platforms will be brought under a three-tier regulatory framework. The rules also mandate OTT platforms to improve the accessibility of content to the persons with disabilities and carry a universal rating (U), U/A seven-plus, U/A thirteen plus, U/A sixteen plus, and Adult, for people over 18.
The three-tier regulatory includes an inter-ministerial committee which will be headed by a joint secretary-level officer from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB). The regulations will also have representatives from the ministries of IT, information and broadcasting, home, law, external affairs, defense, and women and child development. This committee will have the power to block content.