The Ministry of Electronics & IT, Government of India, announced amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on April 6, 2023. These amendments aim to create an open, safe, and accountable internet, focusing on online gaming and fact-checking for government-related content.
Strengthening Online Gaming Regulations
As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a USD 1 trillion digital economy, the online gaming industry presents a multi-billion dollar opportunity for Indian startups. The new rules strive to balance the growth and innovation of the online gaming ecosystem while protecting citizens from illegal betting and wagering activities.
Banning Wagering and Betting in Online Games
The amendments prohibit all forms of wagering and betting on the outcome of games, ensuring that online gaming sites and platforms do not promote such activities.
Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) to Certify Permissible Online Games
SROs from the online gaming industry will form the core of the enabling framework, determining and certifying permissible online games. This will address the safety of gamers, including children, and ensure responsible gaming practices.
Fact-Checking Government-Related Online Content
The Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) will notify an agency to fact-check false and misleading information related to government business. The amended rules mandate intermediaries to make reasonable efforts to avoid hosting, publishing, or sharing fake, false, or misleading information concerning any business of the Central Government.
Ensuring Compliance and User Safety
Intermediaries must comply with the amended rules by not hosting, publishing, or sharing any online games that may cause harm to users, are not verified as permissible by an SRO, or promote non-permissible games.
The self-regulatory body will ensure that online games adhere to rules, legal requirements, and safeguards against user harm, including measures for parental controls, age-rating mechanisms, and protection against gaming addiction.
Preparing for a Bright Future in the Online Gaming Industry
These amendments result from widespread consultations with stakeholders such as parents, teachers, students, gamers, gaming industry associations, and child rights organizations. By fostering a safe and accountable online gaming environment, India seeks to unleash the full potential of its burgeoning digital economy, paving the way for innovative startups and young entrepreneurs.