Centre gives OTT platforms 100 days to put self-regulatory code in place: Report

Hemani Sheth | Updated on March 03, 2020

Over The Top (OTT) platforms feel the heat as the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting gives these players 100 days to set up an adjudicatory body along with finalising a standard code of conduct, the Mumbai Mirror reported on Tuesday.

Citing the example of streaming platforms in China, France and Singapore who abide by government regulations for streaming content, Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information and Broadcasting had set up a meeting with industry giants on Monday, giving them a deadline to abide by the rules of the Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC), a brainchild of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMA) that was set up in February.

The meeting included representatives of Netflix, Amazon Prime, ZEE5, MX Player, ALTBalaji, Hotstar, Voot, Jio, SonyLIV and, the report said.

Four OTT platforms have refused to comply with DCCC. Amazon Prime is refraining from signing up with the DCCC, not liking the idea of censorship. Netflix, MX Player, Zee5 and ALTBalaji have asked for some time to mull the idea of signing up with the regulatory body, the report said. So far only Hotstar, Voot, Jio, SonyLIV and Arre have come on board with the idea as per the report.

The Centre has been mulling the idea of a regulatory board for OTT platforms since 2019, having multiple discussions with key players in Mumbai and New Delhi in October.

Speaking at CII Big Picture Summit in November, Amit Khare, Secretary, Information & Broadcasting Ministry had said that the government was in the process of consultation with the industry players to work towards a self-regulation model. A self-regulatory code for the OTT players was drafted in January.

Before the DCCC, complaints related to the platforms’adherence of news and non-news broadcasters with the programming code were looked into by bodies like News Broadcasting Standards Authority and Broadcasting Content Complaints Council.

According to DCCC’s rules, platforms will need to censor content which are banned by the court, outrages religious sentiments, promotes violence against the state or depicts child pornography, the report said.

Video streaming platform Hotstar India, for instance, had recently blocked an episode of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ where the comedian had actively criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

One of the OTT players complying with the DCCC said that the government has told the players that there will be no censorship but categorization and segregation of content based on the rules, Mumbai Mirror reported.

According to Boston Consulting Group, India’s OTT market will reach about $5 billion in 2023.

Published on March 03, 2020

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