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Govt tightens grip over OTT content

The authorities on Thursday launched Code of Ethics and self-regulation mechanism for video streaming providers – popularly referred to as the over-the-top (OTT) gamers – that can have a far reaching impact on the sector.

The code is a part of the draft Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which the federal government is predicted to inform quickly.

While permitting for self-regulation, the federal government has tightened its grip over the redressal mechanism by forming a three-tier construction, the place the person gamers can have just one degree of self-regulation mechanism.

Under the brand new construction, the second degree might be a self-regulatory physique, headed by a retired decide of a excessive court docket or Supreme Court. The decide should be appointed from a panel ready by the ministry, and have as much as six different members, who will be specialists from the sphere of media, broadcasting, know-how and leisure.

Ultimately, there might be an oversight mechanism, the place the federal government will designate an authorised officer who can have energy of blocking entry of content material.

There may even be an inter-departmental committee, consisting of representatives from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Ministry of Law & Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team and different ministries and organisations.

This committee will meet periodically and listen to complaints concerning violation or contravention of the Code of Ethics. It can even take up instances suo moto, or if any matter is referred by the ministry.

The self-regulatory physique, in addition to the oversight committee have been given powers to present warning, censuring, admonishing or reprimanding gamers for content material.

The OTT platforms will be requested to challenge an apology, embrace a warning card or a disclaimer, reclassify scores of related content material, make applicable modification, and even take it down.

Legal specialists imagine that this oversight mechanism is being created with none clear legislative backing and can now more and more carry out features much like these performed by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for the tv sector under the Cable Television Network Rules.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) had provide you with a self-regulatory code with a two-tier construction in September final 12 months and had launched an implementation toolkit for the resulting from lack of a complete criticism redressal system and absence of a third-party monitoring mechanism.

ET had on January 26 reported that the federal government was planning to introduce broad content material pointers for the sector.

As per I&B ministry insiders, the federal government primarily wished a non-partisan two-tier construction that may very well be housed within the ministry and have representatives from the civil society and judiciary as nicely.

Following Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Chouhan’s letters asking for OTT content material to be regulated, now Jal shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has written to I&B ministry asking for some regulation on OTT content material regarding violence that he has claimed, is influencing youth of the nation negatively. As the ministry will get pointers for OTT platforms prepared, fifty one MPs together with Sonal Mansinh, Manish Poddar, Sridevi Patel and Subhash Chandra have written to the ministry searching for response on the way in which ahead.

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