After the government announced rules governing social media and streaming companies, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said that if newspapers and TV channels follow certain code, why can’t digital media and OTT platforms be regulated. The IT minister added that OTT and digital media platforms should be self regulated.
The Union Minister’s comment comes after government announced tightening of rules governing social media and streaming companies.
“In case of OTT and digital media, what they (government) has said, follow the guidelines of the Press Council of India. If the newspaper can follow Press council, if the TV channels can find the cable code, you will follow the same thing. As regard to OTT is concerned, this code say that you self-regulate,” Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in an exclusive conversation with CNN-News18.
The new regulation policy requires social media to to take down contentious content quicker, appoint grievance redressal officers and assist investigations.
“WhatsApp has 53 crore users, 44.8 crore YouTube users, 41 crore Facebook users, 21 crore use Instagram and 1.75 crore are on Twitter. Let them do business in India, but what about the rights of the users of this media… We have setup a grievance mechanism, acknowledge in 24 hours and redressal in 15 days and for significant social media agencies will be notified soon by us. You must have a compliance officer, you must have a grievance officer, you must have a contact point,” Prasad added.
The new policy rules that any contentious content flagged by the government or legal order has to be taken down quickly.
“Social media has empowered Indians. They have become more keen to ask questions. They have also said that the government welcomes criticism and also dissent,” the IT minister said.
Coming down in the case of offenders of social media, the Union minister said that the first originator of the mischievous content would be punished.
“The question of first originator would be only relevant in case of an issue infringing upon the security and sovereignty of India, Rape, porn, revenge porn and any other issue which is punishable for five years… If he is from outside the country, then who started this in India,” Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
“We have given a robust mechanism for the media users also to have a voice in case of misuse. We respect freedom, but you have to follow the laws of India,” he added.