Digital communication, distribution platforms have undergone significant changes in 2021, Marketing & Advertising News, AND BrandEquity
Digital communication and broadcasting platforms have undergone significant changes in 2021, with the government introducing several new rules and guidelines while insisting on the need for an institutional mechanism allowing all media platforms to exercise responsible freedom. At the start of last year, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting introduced the 2021 Information Technology Rules (Intermediate Directives and Codes of Ethics for Digital Media), providing guidelines for platforms OTT forms and digital news media, requiring them to make their contact details public and having a grievance redress system in place.
Shortly afterwards, the Center also clarified that the power to administer the new digital media rules had not been delegated to states and Union territories after a magistrate in the Manipur district served a notice to an Imphal-based online news portal under the new rules, which was later rescinded by the ministry.
This was followed by the introduction of the 2021 Cable TV Network Rules (Amendment) to grant legal recognition to the self-regulatory bodies of TV and pave the way for a statutory mechanism for redressing grievances or complaints from citizens. concerning content broadcast by television channels in accordance with the provisions of the Cable Television Network Act 1995.
The ministry has also officially recognized the self-regulatory body of the Federation of Professional Information Broadcasters (PNBSA).
The year also saw the ministry announce the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 which proposes to sanction the pirating of films with a prison sentence and a fine, to introduce age-based certification. for films and empower the government to order the recertification of an already certified film upon receipt of complaints.
In an attempt to combat fake news, the ministry also launched its account on social media channel Telegram under the name “PIB Fact Check” with Anurag Thakur, who took office as Minister of Information and broadcasting in August, calling on the media to make efforts to control the threat of fake news.
Several other initiatives have been taken by the ministry, such as the creation of a play center to teach courses related to visual effects, games and animation in collaboration with IIT Bombay, soliciting public comments and stakeholders on “Accessibility standards for television programs for the hearing impaired” to make television content including more accessible and inclusive information for people with hearing loss and the introduction of a mobile application “MyParkings” to enable people to reserve parking spaces online with the aim of facilitating the parking of vehicles in South Delhi.
To celebrate the 75 years of the country’s independence, Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav was launched, in which several exhibitions were held across the country, showcasing the main milestones in India’s struggle for independence. The Amrit Mahotsav is a 75-week festival that started in March and will run until Independence Day 2023.
When the country was hit by the devastating second wave of COVID-19, private television news stations were asked to display several national helplines for the benefit of citizens as part of the awareness initiative.
The ministry also decided to form a committee to review existing guidelines from the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS) to revise the ex gratia payment amount in the event of death as well as other cases falling under the scheme.
Eyebrows were raised when Freedom House’s report “Democracy Under Siege” claimed India’s status had become “partly free”, with the government calling the findings “misleading, incorrect and inappropriate”, claiming that India treated all of its citizens equally and without discrimination. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting refuted the report’s claim that there were discriminatory policies and increasing violence in the country against Muslims.
The government also faced harsh criticism from a parliamentary panel on communications and information technology which said the media were gradually losing their “credibility and digital platforms.”
Led by top congressional leader Shashi Tharoor, the committee also expressed concern over the “worrying trend” in fake news and called on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ask the Ministry of Law and Justice quickly implement the recommendation of the Law Commission to make paid information an electoral offense, so that it has a dissuasive effect on paid information incidents.
The ministry was also criticized by the committee for its “laxity” and “lax approach” in handling complaints against TV stations for violation of program and advertising codes and on the current way of measuring PST, claiming that he put a “big question mark” on the objectivity, accuracy and transparency of the system.
The panel also called on the government to ensure that oversight of digital media is exercised while preserving their right to freedom of expression.
The year ended with the collaboration of India and Vietnam in the field of digital media by signing a letter of intent, which envisages the sharing of information and experiences in establishing policies and regulatory frameworks on digital media and social networks.