MIB preparing charter for functioning of SRBs formed by OTT, digital platforms: Report
The ministry is reportedly taking help of internal and external experts to prepare the charter
Even as the intermediary guidelines have been challenged in courts, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) is coming up with a charter that will lay the ground for the working of self-regulating bodies (SRBs) for OTT platforms and digital news websites.
According to a report in a leading business daily, the ministry is taking help of internal and external experts to prepare the charter, which will list their responsibilities. The SRBs are the second of the three-tier grievance redressal mechanism mandated by the government under the IT Rules 2021.
The report quotes a senior official of the ministry as saying that it will be the responsibility of the SRBs to refer violative content to the I&B ministry content. "The SRBs are expected to play a very crucial role in this whole set up as they will oversee adherence to the code of ethics by their member-publisher, address grievances and appeals that are unresolved at the level of publishers and ensure compliance from their members," the official was quoted as saying.
It is pertinent to note that the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and Internet And Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have formed two separate SRBs for OTT platforms.
Under the IT Rules 2021, the SRBs will ensure adherence to the Code of Ethics by the publisher; address grievances which have not been resolved by publishers within 15 days; hear appeals filed by the complainant against the decision of publishers; and issue such guidance or advisories to such publishers for ensuring compliance to the Code of Ethics.
Further, the SRBs, which will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a high court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, or child rights, has the power of warning, censuring, admonishing or reprimanding the publisher.
The SRB can also direct the publishers to issue an apology or include a warning card or disclaimer or, in the case of an OTT platform, reclassify ratings of relevant content; or make appropriate modification in the content descriptor, age classification and access control measures; or edit the synopsis of relevant content.
It is pertinent to note that the multiple digital news publishers have challenged the IT Rules 2021 in Delhi High Court, Kerala High Court and most recently Madras High Court. The Kerala and Madras High Courts have admitted a petition filed by Live Law Media and Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) against the new intermediary rules notified by the Centre. Both the HCs have directed the Union of India and the MIB not to take coercive action against the petitioners for non-compliance with the rules.
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