DCCCC an attempt to boost consumer confidence, commerce & creative content
Hotstar, Voot, Jio, and SonyLiv have launched the Digital Curated Content Complaint Council (DCCCC) but several OTT players were conspicuous by their absence
Last year, nine video streaming players, namely Hotstar, Netflix, Zee5, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji , Arre, Reliance Jio, Voot and Eros Now signed up for the self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in a move that would help OTT players avoid censorship from the government. The Ministry of Information and Broadcast, on its part, has been pushing the industry towards self-regulation of content.
Fast forward to 2020, and part two of the self-regulation code has seen the setting up of the Digital Curated Content Complaint Council (DCCCC) by Hotstar, Voot, Jio, and SonyLiv. Conspicuous by their absence are players like Netflix, Zee5, Arre and ALTBalaji, who, according to sources, are reluctant to be on board.
The DCCCC has been set up as a redressal mechanism for consumers to be able to directly file a complaint and get a time-bound redressal. But several streaming players believe it needs further deliberations from the industry at large and also that the earlier regulatory mechanism was working fine and this one will only result in added censorship.
The Code of Best Practises for online curated content providers, which was signed last year, broadly covered the following: content would not deliberately and maliciously disrespect the national flag or emblem, it would respect religious sentiment, it will not encourage terrorism and other forms of violence against the State (of India) or its institutions, it will not show children in any sexual acts and also not put out content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by online video service under applicable laws or by any court with competent jurisdiction. Further, the signatories were also expected to ensure transparency on the nature of the content, advise viewer discretion, and also engage technological tools for age-appropriate and sensitive content.
According to a source from the industry, “Last year, nine companies came together, and, in our view, it was the best balance between two things -- artistic expression/creative freedom for the creators and consumer choice, the ability to make the right decisions for the content you want to watch. And if you look at it in terms of the controls that we said we will offer, then it was being done. It also had a redressal mechanism, which is an email ID that anyone who has a complaint can write to. Within three working days, companies had to respond to and acknowledge the complaint and also resolve the complaint within a certain time period. We believe it's largely gone well if not completely fine because people have the ability to bring it up at MIB because it has a publicly available email address. Also, the press looks at these things closely, and we haven't seen any complaints. So, if you think of the three things that we want to do, which is balancing content, artistic expression, along with consumer choice and also if you look at the complaints part, we didn't see a reason to change something that seemed to be working.”
The IAMAI on its part maintains that the DCCCC is not an attempt at censorship but only a platform for consumers to air their complaints.
As per their release, “The DCCCC initiative is aimed at promoting customer confidence, commerce and creative content in India. The Digital entertainment sector is the fastest growing digital consumer service and this initiative will only help bolster the evolution of the sector.”
The structure of the council has also been agreed upon. It will be chaired by Justice A P Shah and will include other eminent personalities with experience of the digital medium, content creators and experts with a proven track record to oversee interests of the sector as well as consumers.
The IAMAI press release also clearly states: “The DCCCC looks forward to make this more inclusive and will start socialising this for wider acceptance by the industry," which is an indication that the IAMAI wants to keep channels of communication open with video streaming players in the hope of on-boarding them at the earliest.
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