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I&B Ministry to host workshop on film certification issues related to online content providers like Netflix and Amazon

You’re reading it here first: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is convening a workshop in Mumbai this week on “issues around film certification”, in which it will also discuss the “current scenario” and “way forward” with regard to “platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime”, a source from the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) told MediaNama.

The workshop is being held on October 10-11, and will be hosted by FCAT, at the Mumbai office of the Films Division of India. I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar may not attend the workshop, given that the Model of Code of Conduct has kicked in for the Maharashtra state elections, according to the source.

The “workshop” comes on the heels of Javadekar revealing roughly a month ago that the ministry is looking into certification of online content. At a CBFC event, he invited comments and recommendations on online content certification.

The I&B ministry has tried to regulate content before this. In April 2018, it had formed a committee to regulate online media when Smriti Irani was helming the I&B ministry for regulation of online news and entertainment content. The then Minister of State of I&B, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, had taken a softer stance of online content regulation, stating that news organisations will have to self-regulate. By July 2018, this committee was disbanded within two months, and hadn’t met even once in the interim.

This committee was constituted just 20 days after Rathore had said in response to a question in parliament that policy matters relating to the internet are governed by MeitY under the IT Act, 2000. In December 2017, Rathore had also said that Ministry of Information & Broadcasting does not regulate paid streaming and video on demand services provided over the internet, and that there are enough safeguards available under the IT Act, 2000. Rathore had ceded jurisdictional ground to MeitY in previous instances in 2016.

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At MediaNama’s round-table discussion on online content regulation, stakeholders talked about how regulation was a bad idea, about jurisdiction issues of the I&B ministry, among other things.

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