Self-regulation likely to steer OTT even in 2020

The I&B Ministry, it has been learnt, has made it clear that the self-regulation model followed by some OTT platforms is good enough

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Dec 24, 2019 9:39 AM

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OTT

Over The Top players will most likely usher in the new year with a sigh of relief as 2019 ends on a note of assurance from the authorities that self-regulation will be the way ahead for OTT players.

Plagued by objections over how religious and communal content has been dealt with in different Original series, several OTT players have had a brush with the authorities and various groups earlier this year.

However, if we take into account the assurances of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which held several closed-door meetings, and the public talks and official communications, a sequel to Netflix’s ‘Leila’ or a third series of ‘Sacred Games’ (both of which were at the heart of many controversies over content) may not be a farfetched idea.

The I&B ministry, it is learnt, has made it clear that the self-regulation model followed by some OTT platforms is good enough at present.

“We are trying to come to a point where all the OTT players can come together on a self-regulatory model without the government’s intervention,” Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, had said recently at an event in Delhi.

Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary, I&B Ministry, had said during the year that the government is looking at a code of conduct that the OTT industry can follow instead of just putting regulations in place.
“The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is already working out a code of best practices for players in the space and most players are expected to join in in accepting the same in the spirit of self-regulation,” Sahay had said.

IAMAI drafted the code of conduct earlier this year with guidelines for online curated content providers. Interestingly, the objectives of this IAMAI code was put together much in sync with what the government advocates for the industry in order to empower consumers to make informed choices on age-appropriate content. The code, rather that restringing creative freedom, aims to protect interests of consumers in choosing and accessing content they want to watch, as per their time and convenience. It aims to safeguard and respect creative freedom of content creators and artists, nurture creativity, and create an ecosystem to foster innovation all the while abiding by an individual’s freedom of speech and expression.

The code also talks about providing a mechanism for redressal of complaints in relation to content made available by online curated content providers.

Players like Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji and Netflix have endorsed this code and while these players plan to abide by it, some regional players are mulling over the idea of wanting to be a part of this model.

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