Indian laws for an online media company

Last Updated at: May 29, 2020
Indian laws for an online media company
The honourable Minister of Electronics & IT announced the Govt. intention to legislate a new Information Technology Act in 2020. In April, his ministry started the initial consultative process with all stakeholders. This act is expected to set liabilities for internet service providers and online media companies, among others. 


Online Media Companies – An Indian Legal Perspective

In the digital age, every individual wants to be more updated with the current events happening in society. With the huge urban youth population of India, the evolution of the media companies has skyrocketed rather more online than in the traditional media. The increased dependency on smartphones has been creating a great impact on the online media company. This is due to increased Internet users. Also, the goods and service providers are using this to advertise their products through online portals. Secifically programmed for marketing and outsourcing their products on a worldwide platform.

What is an online media company?

According to the Information Technology Act,2000, online media companies could be classified as “intermediaries”. It refers to any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that record or provides any service with respect to that record. The online media portals are predominantly used for providing information, news or entertainment. But with a variety of choice in languages to increase the number of subscribers in order to bring in more profit for the media companies.

However, the companies had to abide by various legal procedures in order to gain such profits right from the setting up of the company to outsource it.

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Legal aids by the Government

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an official order for forming a committee. It will frame and suggest a regulatory framework for the online media companies in India.  The committee will comprise of 10 members. It includes the secretaries of Ministry of Human Affairs and the Department of Legal Affairs. Along with representatives from the Press Council of India, News Broadcasting Association and Indian Broadcasters Federation.

With the tremendously fast growth every minute in media activities online, the risk of exploitation also increases alongside. So the committee is bound to regulate a few aspects such as:

  • Data protection (protecting private information and having centralised access to all content uploaded)
  • Matters governed by the Information Technology Act, 2000 that don’t come under the ambit of Ministry of Electronics and IT.
  • Online streaming services need to be provided with a certain regulatory code
  • The news and broadcast portals that operate online do not have a specific guideline or policy which will be looked in by the committee.

Legal obligations for an online media company

  1.   Terms of Service – Every company needs to have a unique set of terms and conditions laid out to the customers. These rules must inform the customers about the limitations and conditions to which they are consenting by using your site.
  2.  Non-compete and non-solicitation – While drafting the partnership deed, one needs to make sure to prevent the partners from setting up a bigger competitive business in the same market once they dissolve the partnership. The deed must also prevent partners from luring away other highly valued employees or partners. These provisions can take up within a specific time period and within a geographical area.
  3. Protection from liability of employee’s acts – As per the Indian law, the employer is liable for anything that may happen to the employees during their course of work. So a loyalty clause must be predominantly available in the contract between the employer and the employee in order to protect the company.
  4. Ownership of intellectual property – The company must make sure to retain any intellectual property rights of products developed by employees under their purview of business to prevent the ideas from passing on to other companies.


The online media companies these days have expanded their scope of marketing by introducing various attractive features. In order to prevent any kind of mishaps, it is mandatory for every company to abide by the laws. With artificial intelligence taking the online media to the next level, the need for new laws has increased. And the evolution of cybersecurity policies has also become of grave importance in today’s scenario.