Noel D'souza
May 03, 2023

FICCI Frames 2023: As AI comes in, less regulation is the best regulation: Apurva Chandra, MIB

Apurva Chandra, secretary, MIB, Government of India, and Praveen Someshwar, co-chair FICCI Media & Entertainment Committee and managing director, HT Media, dived into the synergy between regulators and evolving big tech companies, AI and more

Praveen Someshwar (left) and Apurva Chandra
Praveen Someshwar (left) and Apurva Chandra

At FICCI Frames 2023, Apurva Chandra, secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and Praveen Someshwar, co-chair FICCI Media & Entertainment Committee and managing director, HT Media, had a fireside chat on the challenges of innovation in the media sector, balance between big tech and legacy media and regulation of AI. 


Providing credible digital news content


Chandra kicked off the discussion by stating that as social media news production is growing, misinformation and fake news are also on the surge. 


“There is less editorial genuineness. The credibility factor is declining. The chances of misinformation being circulated are on the rise. We are constantly in conversation with social media intermediaries be it YouTube, Telegram, Facebook and the likes, on how to safeguard and prevent fake news from being circulated. It is an ongoing dialogue and the only way out of this is to roll out tech solutions to gatekeep the content”, voiced Chandra. 


Balance between legacy media and big tech 


Talking about how to create a balance between traditional and big tech, Chandra, shared, “To bring about a balance between the content creators and the intermediaries the people consuming content need to be at the core. There should be a symbiotic relationship. There is a legislation law proposed to provide a regulatory framework to ensure credibility in the new media and we are working with publishers to ensure that this comes to fruition. This legislative law is evolving and the court verdict is still pending on this case.”


Voicing his views on OTT regulation, Chandra, said, “Before we came out with the digital media rules in 2021, there was no legit regulation. If people were dissatisfied with the content, they would file complaints and creators would be burdened with police cases. Now, digital rules act as a rock and framework in case someone is dissatisfied with the OTT content. There is a self-regulatory body of the OTT Digital Publishers Content Grievances Council that is also doing well to address viewer complaints. This is a light-touch initiative is the right approach to ensure content is created without any hurdles and works for both the viewer and the content creators. We would ensure this approach is followed by other digital mediums as well.”


Government’s pursuits in unlocking media growth  


Sharing what is required to unlock media growth in India, Chandra said, “Today the Indian media and entertainment industry stands at USD 25 million which is just below the country’s GDP. We have to grow the GDP percentage of the M&E sector. We are growing at a faster pace than any other country but we are constrained by infrastructure and manpower.” 


Talking about incentive packages, Chandra expressed, “The government of India has announced incentive packages for filmmakers. We are happy to have released the first incentive package of one crore rupees for a film called Inheritance. There are also four to five projects in the pipeline that will receive financial support. Many of the states are also offering incentives. When we go for co-production all the incentives get clubbed which are state, country and foreign investors.”


Someshwar pointed out that for animation and VFX, the government has also opened up incentives for education and made the process much simpler by providing better inventories. 


On AI regulation


Chandra is of the opinion that less regulation is much better. He remarked, “As AI comes in less regulation is the best regulation. There should be space for the industry to grow instead of letting the government interfere in these growing industries.”


Giving his closing remarks, Chandra shared, “The industry is doing its best to get its stories across. There are a lot of stories to be told from India. All of these stories are important and need to be conveyed to the world. On a global scale, viewers want to know these diverse and regional stories. Our goal is to support and take this initiative to a peak plateau and unlock the growth potential of the Media and entertainment industry in India.” 



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