The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India published a draft proposal on June 2, proposing amendments to the “Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Ethics), 2021”. The government withdrew the proposal soon after, but is still asking for changes to the Information Technology Act to hold intermediaries accountable for content posted on their platforms and improve cybersecurity in the country.
The proposed laws would replace existing computer law and prevent intermediaries such as YoutubeTwitter and Facebook to greater accountability. The revisions would remove “safe harbour” provisions from India’s data protection regulations. The provisions, detailed in Article 79 of the Computer Law, protect intermediaries from any legal liability for any third-party information, data or communication link made available or hosted on its platform.
MeitY published the “Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and the Digital Media Code of Ethics), 2021”, through its Electronic Gazette in February 2021, detailing the regulatory framework for platforms online streaming in india. The document suggests a three-tier system for regulating content on online streaming platforms such as netflix, Amazon Primeand Disney+ Hotstar as well as for social media and digital news media.
The regulatory framework would require content from streaming platforms to have ratings similar to those assigned by the Central Board of Film Certification, such as U (universal) or A (mature). The three-tier framework that would neglect strengthening guidelines would include: a self-regulatory body as the first tier, a regulatory oversight body as the second tier, and a government body as the third tier.
The document “Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics) Rules, 2021” cites the powers granted to the Government of India under Section 87 of the Information Technology Act 2000, which allows the government to apply the provisions of the law by means of notifications. in the Official Journal and in the Electronic Journal. The guidelines still need to be finalized and implemented.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) created the Universal Self-Regulatory Code for OCCPs (Organized Online Content Providers) in September 2020 as an alternative to government censorship applied to content from online streaming services in India . Streaming services such as netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee5, Viacom18’s Voot, ALTBalaji, Eros Now, MX Player, Discovery Plus, Jio Cinema, HoiChoi, Arre, Flickstree, Hungama and Shemaroo had signed the self-regulatory code.