The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) on May 26 has sought information from digital news sites, and OTT (over-the-top) video streaming platforms to comply with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The new IT rules had been brought out in February this year.
The platforms are given 15 days to furnish the information. As per the public notice dated May 26. There are three formats in which the information has to be furnished- digital News publishers who publish or telecast news on traditional media such as newspapers or television; Digital News Publishers; and OTT platforms.
Both the first and second category have to provide details on language in which content is published, website, mobile apps, social media accounts. While digital News publishers who publish or telecast news on traditional media have also asked to include RNI (Registrar of Newspapers for India) registration number, or TV channels permitted by the Ministry, contact person, grievance redressal officer in India, the self-regulatory body of which the publisher is a member and particulars of news editor.
Digital News publishers also have to include month and year of incorporation and commencement of operations, company identification number, board of directors, contact person, grievance redressal officer in India, the self-regulatory body of which the publisher is a member and particulars of news editor.
Where as, the OTT platforms are asked to furnish the same details as of digital publishers besides the country of registration, in respect of foreign entities. The notice also said that the changes in any particulars must be communicated within 30 days of them taking place.
“…there is no requirement for prior registration of digital media publishers with the Ministry. Rule 18 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guideline and Digital Media Ethics Codes) Rules, 2021 instead provides for furnishing certain information by the publishers of news and current affairs content and publishers of online curated content the Ministry,” read the notice.
On February 25, 2021, the central government announced new IT Rules- a three-tier regulation mechanism- and had given significant intermediaries (platforms with over 5 million users) like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram three months to comply. The deadline had ended on May 25 and WhatsApp has already moved to Delhi High Court against the traceability clause citing it as a breach of privacy.
The first two tiers bring in place a system of self-regulation by the platform itself and by the self-regulating bodies of content publishers, the third calls for an oversight mechanism by the central government.