I&B Ministry in Favour of Self Regulation For OTT

I&B Ministry in Favour of Self Regulation For OTT

The Ministry of Information & Broadcast (I&B) has recently changed its stance on OTT censorship from government imposed regulations to a self-regulation policy.

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The Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), Amit Khare, emphasised that the OTT platforms should come together and impose a self-regulation model, which will not require any intervention from the Government’s side.

The joint secretary at the I&B Ministry, Vikram Sahay, said that the Government is looking to set up a code of conduct that the OTT industries can follow. This will eliminate the need for any other Government regulation. He also reminded that the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is already working on a “Code of Best Practices” for video streaming and other players to follow. He added that most companies are expected to follow it.

What Is The Code Of Best Practices For Self-Regulation

Internet and Mobile Association of India had rolled out the draft “code of best practices” in January 2019. The organisation said it had been working on the code for over a year. The Code of Best Practices will establish guiding principles for Online Curated Content (OCC) providers to conduct themselves in a transparent and responsible manner. Through this code, the Governmental body also plans to protect consumer interests.

IAMAI listed down the objectives of the code:

  • Empower Indian OTT platform users to make informed choices on age-appropriate content
  • Allowing users to decide what they want to watch and when
  • Safeguard and respect the creative freedom of creators.

OTT players like  Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix and Eros Now “voluntarily”  signed the bill. However, Amazon, Facebook and Google stayed away from the draft.

The Indian Government was pushing for regulation and certification of online video streaming platform after negative feedback from some religious groups on the Netflix original series Leila.

The government could not regulate online content because these platforms do not require any certifications as they don’t come under the Cinematograph Act of 1952. Moreover, the Karnataka High Court had also asked the Central Government to come up with some sort of regulations for the platform.

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