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New I&B Minister takes softer tone on online content regulation, says online news should self-regulate

Rajyavardhan Rathore.

The new Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore, took a softer tone to online regulation while interacting with the media on Tuesday. Invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said that news organizations will have to self-regulate, and won't be regulated by the government. On the subject of online content regulation overall, he simply said that "I think you misunderstood that." The minister's statement comes little over a month after the Ministry formed a committee to regulate both news and entertainment content appearing on the Internet. While Rathore seemed to refer specifically to the news media, it's unclear what the status of the committee itself is, and whether it will continue to exist. Emails by MediaNama to all members of the committee sent on Tuesday morning — before Rathore's statement — asking about the fate of the committee, remain unanswered. We will update this post in case we are able to get a statement. Excerpts from Rathore's statement Rathore seemed to pivot the focus from content regulation to content itself, and brushed away problematic content on social media as something that's not under the I&B Ministry's remit: [...] The Prime Minister is very clear that the media in our country is one of the very important pillars of democracy, and they have to self-regulate. It's not us versus them, it is we all together, as the eyes and ears of this government. And it's the people's voice. So, therefore, be it social media or digital media or the contemporary media,…

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I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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