- The Central government recently said that there is a need for a regulatory mechanism for web based digital media which has a very wide reach and impact.
Views on regulating Digital Media
- There are 3 different forms of media which is print media, electronic media and digital media out of which there is no regulatory body for the digital media whereas print media is governed by the Press Council of India and electronic media is governed by the broadcast institute.
- Eg: Cinema is regulated by the censor board but there is no regulator for OTT platforms.
- Digital media does give the opportunity to the people for raising their voice who can’t afford formal journalism but the main drawback is the lack of reports or original source.
- There is a need for creating accountability for the content.
How accountability can be ensured in digital space?
- The main challenge with digital media is that various digital media platforms claim themselves to be platforms for the content rather than publishers of the content.
- Digital media platforms offer people to post anything but they claim to be just platforms and not being accountable for the content due to which real time editing becomes challenging while under the electronic and print media, the publishers claim the right over the content.
- Even digital platforms have the right to filter out the irrelevant content but most of the time it is biased and thus they should be responsible for the content and should be accountable to the authority.
- Regulation is needed to check various aspects like hate speech, child pornography, sexual depiction of women, etc.
- Thus, anything which is a digital domain and its reach is vast should be regulated in the same way as print and electronic media is regulated.
What are loopholes in regulating digital media in the current scenario?
- Anonymity is inherent in the internet through which criminals use different ways for perpetuating their plans.
- Eg: fake accounts, fake news mob lynching attacks, etc.
- The defamation action can be taken against false news but it becomes difficult to trace the actual person.
- The online media space doesn’t have any kind of licensing or compliance to laws.
- The common man cannot go every time and file suit in the court for defamation.
- There are policies but the enforcement is a challenge.
- The foremost thing is creating awareness about the need of regulation for digital media.
- An institutional mechanism is needed at first for regulation while self regulation can be made applicable at a later stage.
- The KYC mechanism is needed for the digital platforms.
- A public grievance officer should be assigned for every website.
- The regulatory body can be either government owned or can be created through government and private sector collaboration.
- There is an urgent need for regulation whether it is self regulation or through a regulatory body and it is the correct time for regulation to save millions of users.