IAMAI urges govt to hold public consultation on draft OTT guidelines

'OTT streaming platform members of IAMAI were dismayed reading some media stating that the government intends to notify guidelines for OTT streaming platforms shortly'

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Feb 24, 2021 6:55 PM  | 3 min read

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has urged the government to hold public consultation on the draft over the top (OTT) guidelines that it has prepared. The IAMAI was referring to a media report that the government has framed draft rules for intermediaries and digital media platforms which will cover social media, OTT, and digital news platforms.

"OTT streaming platform members of Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) were dismayed reading some media reports stating that the government intends to notify guidelines for OTT streaming platforms shortly. The industry has been working collectively to formalize transparent and stringent guidelines for self-regulation, but has been completely perturbed by the lack of any consultative process administered with the stakeholders that usually proceeds such guidelines or regulations," IAMAI said in the statement.

IAMAI stated that they have recently, in consultation with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), agreed to a universal self-regulatory code that has been adopted by 17 of the leading Online Curated Content Platforms [OCCPs] in India, and have committed to its speedy rollout through an ’Implementation Toolkit’.

"The self-regulatory code, which is under implementation, effectively delivers on the goal of providing strong consumer protection, while delivering a solid foundation for content providers to build from," IAMAI said.

The association stated that the regulations arrived at through stakeholder consultation are much more effective.

"Unfortunately, as things stand, as a responsible industry body and an ardent supporter of all government policies and regulations, IAMAI is surprised to be not consulted on the draft guidelines for OCCPs that is being quoted in the media. Also, apart from the 17 OCC platforms that are signatories to IAMAI’s Universal Self-Regulation Code, there are producers, actors, and other stakeholders who too should have been consulted before the guidelines are published. We firmly believe that regulations arrived at through wide stakeholder consultations are much more effective and more easily implementable."

IAMAI also said that a public dialogue should be initiated by the government on the lines of the Personal Data Protection Bill. "On behalf of its members, IAMAI would like to appeal to the concerned Ministry to consider initiating a public dialogue by inviting comments on the draft guidelines for OTT Streaming Platforms, as was done in the case of Personal Data Protection Bill, Non-personal Data Governance Framework and numerous other rules and regulations."

According to a report in the Hindustan Times, the online platforms will be brought under a three-tier regulatory framework. The rules also mandate OTT platforms to carry ratings such as U (universal) or A (adult). Both sets of platforms come under Information Technology Act, 2000.

The government has powers under section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 to frame rules to carry out the provisions of the law by notification in the Official Gazette and in the Electronic Gazette.

The report noted that the first tier of the regulatory mechanism is grievance redressal by the company itself. The second level involves a Press Council of India-like regulatory body that will be headed by a retired judge of a high court or the Supreme Court.

An inter-ministerial committee which will be headed by a joint secretary-level officer from the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) forms the third tier. It will also have representatives from the ministries of IT, information and broadcasting, home, law, external affairs, defence, and women and child development. This committee will have the power to block content.


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