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I&B Ministry proposes to take over content jurisdiction from MEITY

Amit Khare, Secretary of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, said on Tuesday that the Ministry was proposing to take over jurisdiction on online content regulation in India from the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology. "OTT being a digital platform will fall under the purview of the Ministry of IT. We are proposing a decision that content should fall under purview of I&B. Convergence of ministries is extremely necessary," Khare said during an online session at FICCI e-FRAMES.  This is a significant policy change for the government. In 2018, the I&B Ministry disbanded an online content regulation committee it had formed earlier and ceded its jurisdiction on the issue to a MEITY committee. In a Lok Sabha response this year, MEITY said that streaming services were intermediaries under the Information Technology Act, 2000, which would mean it was their jurisdiction, and not the I&B Ministry's. But this proposal, which would change this status quo, is consistent with the I&B Ministry's recent pressure on OTT services to create a Digital Content Complaints Committee. I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar gave streaming services 100 days to finalise a code of conduct. The DCCC, which some members of the Internet and Mobile Association of India came up with, would be headed by retired Justice AP Shah, and would have the power to penalise streaming services for showing prohibited content. This would be similar to the Broadcast Content Complaints Committee, whose formation led to significant self-censorship on television. To illustrate why emulating that (through a…

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