Self-Regulation By Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar Not Working; Govt May Impose Censorship

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is extremely unhappy with the self-regulatory guidelines proposed by the AIMAI.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is extremely unhappy with the self-regulatory guidelines proposed by the AIMAI.

We have been incessantly covering topics regarding censorship on OTT (Over the Top) platforms, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, among others.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had drafted a letter to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), to provide its guidance and help come up with a well-drafted self-regulatory code for content on online streaming services.

However, the IB Ministry does not approve the guidelines submitted by IAMAI on matters of self-regulatory.

Let’s learn more on the subject.

IAMAI’s Proposed Guidelines

The Internet & Mobile Association of India is a not-for-profit industry body. Its major role is to  expand and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors.

In the view of proposing guidelines to self-regulate the content uploaded on online-streaming services and OTT players, IAMAI came up with the under-mentioned guidelines:

  • A two-tier structure as part of the self-regulatory regime, the second tier being the Digital Curated Content Complaints Council (DCCCC) along with enumeration of prohibited content.
  • Speaking of DCCCC, it has been proposed that the same would be chaired by a retired judge of the Supreme Court or High Court.

What Does the IB Ministry Not Approve of?

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is extremely unhappy with the guidelines proposed by the IAMAI, in light of self-regulatory measures.

The ministry states that,

“the proposed self-regulatory mechanism lacks independent third-party monitoring, does not have a well-defined Code of Ethics, does not clearly enunciate prohibited content, and at the second and third-tier level there is an issue of conflict of interest”.

It is thus, the Ministry has advised the IAMAI in writing, to look into the structures of self-regulatory bodies like Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) and News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA), to devise a credible self-regulatory and grievance redressal mechanism for Online Curated Content Providers (OCCP).

“No Classification of Prohibited Content”, IB Ministry

The I&B Ministry also stated in respect of self-regulatory content, the IAMAI has not classified what falls under the reigns of ‘prohibited content’.

It also mentioned that the second tier advisory panel curated by IAMAI consist of 3 members, of which two will be from OCCP itself, while the only independent member shall be treated as a minority.

OCCPs like SonyLiv, Voot or Hotstar have been asked to make their self-regulatory models stringent.

This is because due to the absence of any regulatory framework, each platform regulates itself. The I&B Ministry itself, is responsible or content on television and print industry, and there doesn’t exist any specific laws for content regulation on online services, yet.

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