NEW DELHI: The government on Thursdays said that social media is welcome to do business in India but it will have to comply with the rules and regulations issued from time to time.
Addressing a press conference, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "The social media is most welcome to do business in the country. They have done good in empowering the ordinary Indians and their platform has often been used to cast aspersion on most pressing issues. I would like to say that the platform should not be misued. The social media platform will have to comply with the rulkes and regulations issued by the government in this regard.''
Prasad stated that the content on OTT platforms will be strictly monitored.
The new rules establish a soft touch progressive institutional mechanism with a level playing field featuring a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework for news publishers and OTT platforms on the digital media.
Addressing the joint press conference, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, ''The OTT platforms would self-classify the content into five age based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.
"Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation) Act thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media,'' Javadekar said.
A three-level grievance redressal mechanism has been established under the rules with two levels of self-regulation- Level I being the publisher and Level II being the Self Regulatory Body, and the third level being the Oversight Mechanism under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. The rules provide for an effective grievance redressal mechanism for receiving, processing, and time-bound disposal of public grievances related to the Code of Ethics. The self regulatory body would be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court, or by a person of eminence from the relevant field, and can issue advisories to the publisher.
The mechanism is based on the principles of minimum Government intervention; however platforms should develop a robust grievance redressal mechansim on their own.
Benefits of the Rules
The institutional mechanism would : (i) encourage growth in the Champion Audio-Visual Services Sector; (ii) empower citizens to make informed choices about content, get their grievances redressed in definite time frames, and protect children; and (iii) help to fight fake news on digital media through a mechanism of accountability of the publishers.