New Delhi: The government is planning to put in place a regulatory framework for social media and online content, said Union minister of information and broadcasting Smriti Irani on Saturday.

Speaking at the News18 Rising India Summit in the capital, Irani said that the current legislation is not very clear with regards to online news and broadcast content material.

“We have Press Council of India for newspapers which is different from government, still self-regulatory enough to awaken its own conscience and take a decision that will bar such processes. Similarly, for television news you have the News Broadcasters Association. I’m hopeful that such a similar body will also emerge for the social media at least in the news, opinion and entertainment content," she said.

The ministry is already in talks with the concerned stakeholders on the issue, Irani added.

According to Irani, the recent consolidation of three media units under the Bureau of Outreach Communication was the need of the hour and doing away with such “silos" was the only option left.

“Communication today has to be a 360 degree engagement. Given that this is the need of the hour, we did, yes, amalgamate and bring everything in terms of the government outreach and communication under the bureau of communication. I think a first in Indian history," she said.

On Wednesday, three separate departments, namely, the Directorate of Film Publicity (DFP), Song and Drama Division (S&DD) and the Directorate of Audio Visual Publicity (DAVP) were officially integrated into a singular unit and will henceforth operate from under the banner of Bureau of Outreach Communication (BOC) as per the new structure.

“BOC—a framework designed to ensure Government’s engagement reaches every state and every district of the country; a reformative step in taking Government communication beyond National Capital," Irani tweeted on Wednesday.

These media units were responsible for promoting government policies and programmes among the public through advertisements, films, and performance arts. Their roles will now be consolidated and overseen by the new parent body post-integration.

Irani also said that a line of ethics and code of conduct has to be put in place which is incumbent upon the agencies to abide by, to ensure that the customers do not get affected by the vested views in news, broadcasting and advertorial content.

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