q-while-the-mainstream-media-is-conscious-of-provisions-in-the-indian-penal-code-ipc-that-deal-with-the-promotion-of-violence-enmity-among-communities-defamation-etc-the-content-on-online-platforms-se

 

Q) While the mainstream media is conscious of provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that deal with the promotion of violence, enmity among communities, defamation etc. the content on online platforms seems to be oblivious of all this. In this context, critically examine the need for regulation of online platforms in India. 

Why this question:

Has been in the news recently. 

Key demand of the question:

Give an account of why regulation of  online platforms by the government is necessary and the impact it will have.

Directive:

Critically examine- Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding the topic. Try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues identified are most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.

Introduction:

Give an introduction of the current state of regulations of online platforms in India. 

Body:

In the first part, highlight the need for the regulation of online platforms- social media as well as OTT platforms.

In the next part, highlight the challenges in the process of moving forward with such regulations. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

The Government of India recently unveiled a new set of rules for the regulation of online platforms in India. The policy has tried to create the much-needed level-playing field between online news platforms and print media on the one hand and online and television news media on the other.

Need for regulation of Online Platforms 

  1. To keep out obnoxious online content that promotes violence and vulgarity.
  2. To undermine the ill effects it has on society especially among the younger generation. 
  3. To protect the internet users and deal firmly with platforms that promote violence, terrorist material, child abuse, cyber bullying, etc.
  4. To bring the online platforms of news and entertainment at par with the print media as well as the cinema 

However, there are certain concerns related to the new regulations proposed by the government. These include:

  1. It will bring government control rather than regulation over digital news platforms and OTT video content providers.
  2. Provisions like traceability of encrypted content, harsh content take down timelines, and automated content filtering are blunt and disproportionate to the intention behind these changes.
  3. It poses a challenge to the Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. 

Keeping these concerns in mind and the need for regulation, the Government has to adopt a balanced approach in regulation of online platforms. India, once the world's largest unconnected country, will soon be one of the world’s biggest internet-enabled nations, with over 800 million online. Unregulated social and digital media could pose a threat to India’s rise as a trustworthy and responsible nation.