India is predicted to become the 6th largest market for OTT (Over-the-top) platforms by 2024, with digital media reaching a valuation of $5.1 billion by 2021 alone. This growth can be credited to several factors including record low internet prices and the proliferation of mobile devices. This massive and undeniable change in the media landscape raises, perhaps inevitably, the issue of the integration of digital media into a broader policy landscape. The dialogue surrounding the regulation of digital media in all its forms has been steadily gaining momentum globally and in India. The question of content regulation in particular has proven to be a complex and nuanced issue with different stakeholders such as the government and media entities representing varied perspectives.
It is in the backdrop of this discourse that the President of India on 9th November, 2020, issued a notification amending the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961 such that, an addition was made to the Second Schedule of the Rules, adding the new head of “Digital/Online Media” under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. This notification effectively has brought digital news and entertainment, which previously was mostly free of government mandated regulation, within the regulatory purview of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B). In this Policy Report, the author explores the implications of this notification on the overall status of regulation of digital media in India specifically in terms of content regulation.