On February 25, the Electronics & Information Technology ministry held a high-level meeting to decide on the framework of a set of new rules and a system for social media and OTT platforms having their base in the country. Following the new rules, the Government of India gave a three months deadline to all the companies to comply with the new guidelines drafted, failing which, their tenure in India will be terminated with immediate effect.
Today, May 25 happens to be the last day to adapt to the guidelines, and we’re yet to see if social media giants like Twitter, Facebook, and OTT platforms have adapted to the new guidelines or not. The set of new rules and ethics include the appointment of Indian compliance officials, stating their name and contact address in India, complaint resolutions, monitoring of questionable content, compliance report, and removal of questionable content.
The new rules also include a committee comprising representatives from the Ministry of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT, Women, and Child Development. It will have sole powers to call for hearings on complaints of violation of the Code of rules, ethics if it wishes to. The government also wishes to appoint an officer as the “Authorised Officer” who has the power to block any content if found violating the rules.
If the officials working believe that the content violates the new law, it is entitled to send the content to a government-controlled committee to issue the blocking orders with immediate effect. With all these rules and monitoring, the Government aims to establish a proper mechanism that would safeguard the interests of the public and content consumed by the citizens of India.
As of now, to the last date of the three-month deadline, “no companies other than one has appointed the compliance officials as ordered by the Government of India”, informed the source working closely with the companies. Some state that many giant companies asked for the extension of the present deadline to a six-month period as getting permissions from the headquarters and setting the mechanism would take more than just 3 months.
Talking about the appeal of extension in deadline, sources working closely with the Government said that “the companies have established their networks in India and over the course have made huge profits in the Indian market but are unwilling to get a green signal for the new set of rules stated by the Government.” This statement clearly shows the lack of interest of the government to extend the deadline and disappointment on the very famous OTT platforms and social media networks.
If the government decides to ban the platforms with immediate effect, several businesses that run on social media will collapse, especially small businesses. In today’s world when everything runs online, even offline business source social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter for digital marketing which is key for a successful business will also be floating in huge losses within minutes if banned.
However, to see the much-anticipated reply or action from the companies or decision by the government, we need to wait for one more day.