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I&B Ministry’s Powers to Regulate Content on TV, other Platforms

  • Published
    8th Feb, 2022
Context

In a recent development, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry barred the transmission of Malayalam news channel Media One citing 'security reasons'.

About

In a recent development, the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry barred the transmission of Malayalam news channel Media One citing 'security reasons'.

Where can I&B Ministry regulates content?

  • Until last year, it had the powers to regulate content across TV Channels, newspapers and magazines, movies in theatres and on TV and Radio.
  • From February, 2021, the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 extended the regulatory powers over internet content as well.

What is nature of powers?

  • On paper, the powers are very limited. However in practice, the powers have a broader scope.
    • For example, the Central Board of Film Certification has a mandate to give a rating indicating the kind of audience it is suitable for.

What kind of content is not allowed?

  • There is no specific rule or law on content allowed or prohibited in print and electronic media, radio, films or OTT platforms.
  • The content has to follow the free speech rights of the country as guaranteed by Article 19(1) of the Indian constitution.
  • Also, the content needs to be in line with the ‘reasonable restrictions’ that can be exercised. This includes security of the state, friendly relationship with foreign state, public order, decency and morality etc.

What all agencies are involved in regulating the content?

  • There is no direct involvement of any of the agencies. The power to regulate content rest only with the I&B Ministry.
  • However, the ministry relies on the inputs from other ministries as well as intelligence agencies.
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