Online news websites, social media, OTT platforms under regulatory net

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New Delhi, 25 February: The Central Government has issued guidelines for social media companies, over-the-top (OTT) platforms, internet-based businesses and digital news.

On Thursday, Union Ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar told in a press conference that all social media companies are welcome to do business in India, but their accountability is also necessary to prevent social media misuse. For this, the government has prepared new rules, which will come into force in three months.

Under the new rules and guidelines, social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter will have to remove the content from their platform in 24 hours after receiving any government or legal order.

โ€œAccording to the new draft, if a complaint is filed regarding any content that is disputed, these companies will have to give all the necessary information within 72 hours to get the cooperation of the concerned investigating authorities and resolve it within 15 days. According to the new guidelines, all social media must share their information,โ€ added Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Three officers will have to be appointed to settle the complaint

Along with this, three officers will have to be appointed for redressal of grievances. It will be mandatory for social media companies to appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, an Executive Officer on compliance of laws and a Grievance Redressal Officer within three months of the new rules being issued. All these officers should be citizens of India.

According to the rules, the information of those who spread rumours or start hoarding will have to be shared with the government.

OTT platform will have to create a category of programs

Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said that OTT platforms also have to prepare regulations for them so that children can be protected from pornographic material.

He said that parents should have full rights about which programs children will see below 13 years. With this, a category has to be created for adults above 16 years. There should be a system in place that allows adult programs to be locked for children.

He apprised that meetings have been held in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai to formulate rules for self regulation. After discussions with social media, the central government has prepared a draft for self regulatory rules and now it has to be implemented on social media.

He said that there is Press Council for complaints related to print media, program code for TV but there was no such system for redressal of complaints related to social media. Hence this draft has been released today.