Netflix, Amazon & 13 OTTs Sign ‘Self-Regulation’ Code; Will Content Get Censored?

Netflix, Amazon & 13 OTTs Sign 'Self-Regulation' Code; Will Content Get Censored?
Netflix, Amazon & 13 OTTs Sign ‘Self-Regulation’ Code; Will Content Get Censored?

In November 2019, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEIT) said that OTT players in India should unite to form a self-regulatory model that would not require intervention from the government.

Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee 5, MX Player, and 10 other OTTs have signed a universal ‘self-regulation’ code for Online Curated Content Providers (OCCPs), under the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Read on to find out more about this code and how it will affect the viewers…

What is the ‘Self-Regulation’ Code?

To give more choice and control to the viewers the IAMAI said that the code has a framework for age classification, content description for titles, and access control tools along with grievance redressal and escalation mechanism in case signatories do not comply with the guidelines.

 The IAMAI said, “The goal of this industry-wide effort is to empower consumers with information and tools to assist them in making an informed choice with regard to viewing decisions for them and their families, while at the same time, nurturing creativity and providing creators the freedom to tell the finest stories,”

The Code, as guiding principles, intends for India to be one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing entertainment industries in the world, IAMAI said.

The Code will be effective from August 15 and allows OCCPs to comply with its guidelines within certain allotted periods of time. 

Tarun Katial, Chair, Digital Entertainment Committee of IAMAI said, “The combination of empowering consumers and enabling creative excellence will help Online Curated Content Providers be at the forefront of taking the best stories from India to the world and bringing the finest stories from around the world to Indian consumers. Most of the major streaming services have adopted the Code, and we look forward to others joining.”

How Will The Viewers Complaints Be Heard Under This Code?

A Digital Content Complaints Committee set up in the previous drafts of the code, doesn’t appear in the signed version. The function of this committee was to hear the pleas of viewers and penalize the streaming services. 

However, the signed version does allow each content provider to set up a Consumer Complaints Department, and/or an internal committee, as well as an advisory panel to hear and manage the complaints, appeals, and escalations.

This advisory panel will comprise a minimum of three members mainly an independent external advisor and two senior executives of the content provider. As per the statement, each signatory to the code has agreed to appoint an external advisor as part of the grievance redressal mechanism within 60 days from September 4.

Will the Movies, Web Series, TV Shows Be Censored?

The Code has been signed by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Zee 5, MX Player, Viacom, Jio Cinema, Eros Now, Alt Balaji, Arre, HoiChoi, Hungama, Shemaroo, Discovery Plus, and Flickstree.

An earlier draft of the code said that content that would be prohibited would include content which ‘promotes and encourages disrespect’ to the sovereignty and integrity of India; promotes and encourages terrorism or other forms of violence against the State or content, etc. It is unclear whether the present version has these regulations.

However, the present version doesn’t mention censorship anywhere, hence it is likely you will enjoy the content of movies, web series, and more in its purest form.

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