The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) will soon make it mandatory for digital news platforms to provide key details about their organisations. The ministry is planning to map out the online news media landscape as it doesn’t have a complete picture of the sector.
The digital news platforms will have to provide details about the editorial head, ownership, address, and designated grievance officer among others. The ministry is planning to come out with a form that all digital news outlets must fill and submit in a month.
“Currently, the government doesn’t have a complete picture of how many players there are in this sector and who they are. If you log on to their websites, you won’t even find basic information on their office address or editor-in-chief,” I&B secretary Amit Khare told Indian Express.
I&B ministry Prakash Javadekar said the ministry doesn’t even know how many digital news organisations are there in India in response to a question about the lack of consultation with digital news players. “We don’t know how many digital news portals are there. If we don’t know how will we consult with them. Our doors are always open for suggestions and consultation.”
The government has brought digital news platforms under the ambit of regulation through Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. The guidelines have been framed under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.
The digital news platforms will now have to follow the journalistic conduct of the Press Council of India (PCI) and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Network Act, which are already applicable to print and TV. This, the government said, will provide a level playing field.