The ministry’s clarification comes 1.5 years after platforms like Disney+ Hotstar and SonyLIV had removed the live feeds of third-party news channels from their platforms due to ambiguity over the FDI rule and the introduction of a content rating system under the IT Rules 2021.
In a note, the ministry clarified that TV news channels granted permission under the Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, and their entities operating the digital news content are already covered under the FDI policy.
TMT Law Practice Managing Partner Abhishek Malhotra said, “This clarification puts to rest any such misinterpretation that was caused on account of the lack of completed clarity in the notification.”
He noted that the FDI Policy document dated 16.10.2020 is aimed only at the channels that have received uplinking and downlinking permissions, and OTT platforms were, like any other intermediary, never intended to be included within the scope of the notification.
Kurate Digital Consulting Senior Partner Uday Sodhi noted, “Very logical calcification made by the MIB. OTTs platforms are only distribution vehicles for the news feed. This should help improve the online distribution and availability of the news channels across OTT platforms.”
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