On November 9, 2020, the Indian Government’s Cabinet Secretariat issued a notification (the “Amendment”) to amend the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 ("AOB Rules"). Businesses of the government are transacted by ministries/departments, secretariats, and offices in accordance with the distribution of matters specified in the AoB Rules. This Amendment brings ‘digital/ online media’ under the regulatory purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India (“MIB”).
Digital/ Online Media includes - (a) films and audio-visual media made available by online content providers; and (b) news and current affairs content on online platforms. The Amendment comes into force with immediate effect. A copy of the Amendment can be accessed here.
How this may affect you: The Amendment grants MIB jurisdiction to regulate online streaming/ content platforms. MIB can now formulate regulations on digital/ online media, which will have the force of law once they have been approved by the Indian parliament.
To be clear, no bespoke regulations have been issued so far, and the Amendment does not result in digital/ online media being regulated under existing broadcasting or cinematography regulations. However, the possibility of future regulations being introduced in this space cannot be ruled out.