Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, on Monday, gave the industry a hundred days to form an ‘adjudicatory body’ and finalise a code of conduct for the regulation of content on the digital platforms in India. In the meeting that happened in New Delhi, the heads of nearly all the OTT players in the country were present to discuss the mandate. The 45-minute meeting was attended by the representatives of Netflix, Zee5, Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Voot, Jio, Arre, SonyLIV, Amazon Prime and MX Player among others. Among these, four OTT platforms refused to be a part of the Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC) that was formed last month to keep a check on the complaints being issued for the content. At the end of the meeting, while Netflix, Zee5, MX Player and ALTBalaji requested for more time to consider the decision, Amazon Prime expressed ‘displeasure’ over the idea. Also Read - Varun Dhawan's Netflix And Pancakes Binge in Shorts is Friday Goals, Leaves Katrina Kaif-Arjun Kapoor Gushing
As reported by Mumbai Mirror, only Hotstar, Voot, Jio, SonyLIV and Arre have signed up and agreed to work with the DCCC which was formed collectively by the I&B Ministry and the Internet and Mobile Association (IAMA). Also Read - Do Not Create Fear Psychosis; no Link Between Coronavirus And Migratory Birds: Prakash Javadekar
On January 17, the IAMA designed a code of self-regulation for the digital platforms. It was titled ‘Code of Best Practices for Online Curated Content Providers. Under this code, the OTT platforms are not allowed to stream any content that is banned by Indian courts, that disrespects the national emblem, outrages religious sentiments, depicts child pornography and promotes violence against the state. It was seemingly under this code that Hotstar could not stream the latest episode of the popular show Last Week Tonight With John Oliver that allegedly criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the light of the ongoing citizenship protests and for his policies. Also Read - I Also Eat Poha, Not an Issue, Says Prakash Javadekar After Vijayvargiya's Poha-Bangladesh Equation
In his previous meeting with the OTT platforms that happened in October last year, Javadekar had asked the representatives to come up with their own suggestions and create mutually agreeable terms. It was in February this year that the DCCC was formed and retired Justice AP Shah was announced as its chairman. The complaint body is yet to be fully formed. It’s going to have five to seven members out of which two will be the representatives of the OTT platforms.
In the meeting that happened on Monday, Javadekar talked about the importance of the regulations of the content on the OTT platforms in a country where the content is watched jointly by the entire family in most households. The I&B Minister mentioned that it is necessary to regulate ‘what can be watched together.’
As reported by the daily, the DCCC has asked the OTT platforms to not fear censorship because there is not going to be any. However, they want the players to list their content in a better way and provide a better categorisation to reach out to different age groups. Right now, there’s no consensus among the players. The government is awaiting the constructive formation of the DCCC to deal with the issue more effectively. The ministry is also expecting the OTT platforms to have a broad consensus on ‘some form’ of regulation in their content.