Digital Curated Content Complaint Council supersedes 2019’s Code of Conduct for OTT

The newly-slated council code clearly defines what constitutes prohibited content and how to classify content, apart from stressing on the need for better parental or access controls

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 9:10 AM

Last year, it was the code of conduct. And this year, it is the Digital Curated Content Complaint Council. While self-regulation is likely to steer OTT this year, how does the new council by The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) propose to facilitate it?

Interestingly, the council has also come up with an ‘Online Curated Content Providers Code’, which, as proposed by IAMAI, shall supersede the earlier code issued by the body in February 2019.
The newly-slated code defines certain parameters like ‘prohibited content’, ‘classification of content’, ‘age classifications/maturity ratings’, ‘content descriptor’ and ‘parental or/and access control’ for OTT platforms.

Prohibited content defined by the new council is quite similar to last year’s code. This includes content that promotes and encourages disrespect to the sovereignty and integrity of India; depicts children in real or simulated sexual activities; shows children’s sexual organs primarily for titillation; and promotes and encourages terrorism and other forms of violence against the State (of India) or its institutions. Content banned for exhibition or distribution by online video service under applicable laws or by any court of competent jurisdiction also comes under the purview of what’s prohibited under the new code.

The new council code also says how content may be categorised according to the subject matter treatment of themes such as Crime & Violence, Sex, Obscenity & Nudity, Horror & Occult, Drugs and Language.’

The signatories to the Code, according to IAMAI, should agree to display a content descriptor or a guidance message specific to each content/programme. It should be able to inform the viewer about the nature of the content and advice on viewer discretion, if applicable. The content descriptor would be displayed at the title page of the respective content or at the beginning of any programme, which will enable the viewer to make an informed decision before viewing the content. The code further says that if the content descriptor is displayed at the beginning of any programme, it should last long enough for the viewer to clearly discern it.

Ensuring that viewers watch the right age-appropriate content, the new code urges signatories to bring in relevant tools and measures to ensure access to content and enable parental controls. “Alternatively, to providing parental controls, the signatories may also adopt access control measures such as PIN/Password to access/restrict content solely meant for mature audiences/adult viewing,” the code says.

The council already has Hotstar, Voot, Jio, and SonyLiv on board and looks forward to making this more inclusive and acceptable for the wider industry.

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