The announcement said President Ram Nath Kovind has signed the order to bring these platforms under the purview of the I&B Ministry headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The ministry has invoked powers conferred by clause (3) of Article 77 of the Constitution, thus giving them the power to regulate policies related to news and other online content.
Currently, the Press Council of India monitors the print media; the News Broadcasters Association looks after news channels; the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising and the Central Bureau of Film Certification takes care of films.
Online news and current affairs portals, and OTT platforms, including Amazon Prime, Netflix, SonyLiv, Hotstar, AltBalaji, etc, are not under the purview of the I&B ministry.
Several complaints have alleged these platforms of spreading fake news and misinformation as there was no governing body to monitor their content. There were also calls for censorship on allegations that certain shows aired by OTT platforms hurt religious sentiments.
Online platforms have so far allowed filmmakers and artistes to release their content without any worry of censorship or getting a clearance certificate.
In 2019, Javadekar, while stating the Narendra Modi government would not take any step to control media freedom, said there should be some kind of regulation for OTT platforms.
In October, the Supreme Court sought the Centre’s response on a plea for an autonomous body to regulate OTT platforms. In a separate case, the I&B ministry said there is a need for a regulatory body to censor digital media content.