A few days after a directive on ‘fake news’ issued by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) was withdrawn following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s order, the I&B Ministry-led by Smriti Irani has formed a special committee to monitor online content. The committee which will constitute of representatives from various ministries will also draft separate regulations for digital media companies. As per reports, the development stated that the committee has been mandated to suggest the regulatory framework for online media including the news portals, entertainment sites and also for the media aggregators.  

The reports of the formation of the new committee came in just a day after PM Modi had ordered the reversal of MIB’s announcement of the fake news. The committee is said to be headed by the secretary of the ministry and will include officials from other ministries. The committee is said to constitute ministers of home, law, telecom, the department of industrial policy and promotion, representatives of the Press Council of India (PCI), News Broadcasters Association (NBA) and Indian Broadcasters Federation (IBF) and the head of government outreach portal MyGov.

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Earlier while highlighting the need for a regulatory body over digital content, MIB Minister Smriti Irani said that the Modi government is considering new regulatory frameworks to monitor the content present online. The committee which will be set up by the MIB is said to define the actual online space that needs to be monitored. Reports suggest that there has been no current guidelines issued for the regulation of online content and websites. Smriti Irani had said that it is important for the government to ensure that the readers do not get affected by the fake news circulated on digital space. The officials from MIB said that the following development comes to wake after the ministry had received a number of complaints about websites running fake news with distorted facts.

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