DMPQ-. Explain the implications of bringing Digital media and Over–The-Top (OTT) platforms under the ambit of ministry of information and broadcasting.

The government of India has brought digital audio-visual content, including films and web shows on over-the-top (OTT) streaming platforms, as well as news and current affairs on online platforms under the ambit of the ministry of information and broadcasting, in a move that media experts say could have far reaching effects on creative expression in India.

To be sure, India is not the first or only country to regulate digital media. All electronic communication in the US is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission, an independent agency of the government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The US has sophisticated regulations for the Internet. In general, the US, in line with the free speech principle expressed in the First Amendment has minimal content regulation.

Media and entertainment industry experts, however, say the new notification is a clear case of regulating a segment that refuses to toe the line. It will be challenging to implement these regulations given that the entry barriers for digital platforms are extremely low since they don’t require the kind of (uplinking or downlinking) licenses that broadcast networks do, or to check entities not registered in India.

While recent OTT offerings like Mirzapur, Sacred Games and others had drawn some flak for explicit content, creators say the distinct charm of web titles lies in their ability to be real, rustic and unapologetic. India’s theatrical business has long bowed down to diktats of the censor board, while the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council have regulated TV content.

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