The Central Government has issued an order, bringing news websites and streaming services such as Netflix under the purview of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. It amended the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, to make the changes.
The development was announced in a gazette notification by the Cabinet Secretariat on Tuesday night.
The notification, signed by President Ram Nath Kovind, said the decision has been taken in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution, by amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 and it will come into effect immediately.
The notification said the decision was taken to include news and current affairs content on online platforms, and films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers under the jurisdiction of the I&B Ministry headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The move will give the ministry the legal authority to regulate — and potentially censor — online content.
Previously, the ministry technically only had jurisdiction over the content on television and radio.
While the Press Council of India takes care of the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes care of films.