Online gaming services and online advertising will now fall under the remit of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B). Previously, MeitY and the Information Technology Law, 2000, were the primary overseers of these aspects.
The Centre has made a significant decision to transfer online content providers, such as online gaming services and online advertising, to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B), as part of the Government’s efforts to better regulate and manage the ever-changing digital environment.
The gazette notification, issued by President Draupadi Murmu has made it clear that “films and Audio-Visual programmes/content made available by online content providers/publishers” within the ambit of the “Ministry of Information and Broadcasting” in the Second Schedule of the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. This means that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) is now in charge of content distribution in the digital space.
One of the biggest impacts of this notice is that the Ministry of I&B will now be in charge of setting the rules and regulations for gaming content platforms and online advertising. Previously, these were mainly managed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and the Information Technology Act, 2000.
The idea of regulating online media dates back to March 2018 when then Minister for Information and Broadcasting (I&B), Smriti Irani, proposed the first measures to regulate digital content providers. The growing power of online platforms, as well as the need to protect users from exploitative or harmful content, appeared to be the driving force behind this initiative.
In April this year, the government took important steps to regulate online gaming by introducing an amendment to the IT Rules 2021. The amendment aimed to regulate ‘online pay-to-play’ games.
At the same time, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting issued a new notice to media houses, platforms and online intermediaries not to run ads promoting pay-to-earn apps. The ministry strongly objected to mainstream English and Hindi newspapers carrying such ads and underlined the need for more stringent monitoring.
Credit: Business Today