The Centre on Wednesday said that the move to bring online news and over-the-top (OTT) platforms under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) was to ensure that content along all platforms is handled by a single ministry, while the platforms themselves are under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Speaking at the CII Big Picture Summit, I&B Secretary Amit Khare said, “(The) idea behind the change, which was done in the month of November, was to bring content at one place — that is Ministry of I&B, and platforms at another place, that is Ministry of IT.”
Khare said he was “clarifying” it “in the past summit, and various media circles, particularly in print circles, there used to be discussion that online and offline content should not be treated differently”.
He said: “The same content if it is online, it is treated in one fashion, if it is offline it is treated by some other ministry in some other manner. So, in order to bring some… semblance that all content should be at one place, and all platforms should be at other places.”
He stated that the government’s role “in this sector is mostly as a facilitator”, mentioning that the I&B Ministry, with a budget of Rs 4000 crore, “is one of the smallest in terms of budget, but largest in terms of influence” and “that influence comes only through the private sector”.
“Media and entertainment are entirely private-driven,” the Secretary said. “We must focus and facilitate that private initiative… It’s not so much of regulation, but more of a facilitation.”
Khare said that barring the National Films Development Council (NFDC) for movies and Prasar Bharati for broadcasting, all other filmmaking and channels in the country are private, as are all OTT platforms.
“Prasar Bharati is now considering to have some (OTT) platform of their own. NFDC is also thinking on those lines,” he said.
Speaking at the summit, I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said, “animation, visual effects, gaming and comic (AVGC) is a sunrise sector and our experts are providing backend support to top filmmakers of the world.”