Govt Says No Censorship For Netflix, Prime & Other OTTs; No Govt Registration Required

Govt Says No Censorship For Netflix, Prime & Other OTTs; No Govt Registration Required

The government has proposed Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules 2021.

Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, said on Thursday that his ministry would work with the industry to improve the audience experience, and that the guidelines will concentrate on self-classification of content rather than censorship.

Javadekar, after a meeting with representatives of OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and Alt Balaji, also said that they have welcomed the government’s new guidelines.

“Had a fruitful meeting with representatives from OTT industry and explained the provisions of the OTT rules. All representatives have welcomed the new guidelines. The ministry and industry will partner together to make the OTT experience better for all audiences,” Javadekar tweeted.

The New Rule Dealing With Three-Tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism 

On February 25, Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar held a joint press conference to announce the Information Technology (Intermediary guidelines and digital media ethics codes) Rules, 2021, under the Information and Technology Act, 2000. Proper interaction with OTT platforms like Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Jio, Zee5, Viacom18, Shemaroo and MxPlayer was held as per the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry said in a statement.

The rules relate to the code of ethics need to be followed by digital news publishers and publishers of OTT content, which includes five age-based classifications (‘U’, ‘U/A 7+’, ‘U/A 13+’, ‘U/A 16+’ and ‘A’) in respect of OTT platforms. The rules stated that a three-level grievance redressal mechanism consisting of the publisher (level-1), a self-regulating body constituted by the publishers (level-2) and an oversight mechanism of the government (level-3), will dispose of grievances in a time-bound manner.

General Principles For All The Publishers

Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe the ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct’ of the Press Council of India and the ‘Programme Code’ under the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act. Setting out general principles, the rules say that publishers should take into consideration that the content does not “affect the sovereignty and integrity of India” or “jeopardises the security of the State”, among other things.TV has to follow the code under the Cable Network Act, and print media is regulated by the Press Council of India.

“The digital media platforms have no monitoring mechanism like TV News Media or the print media. Which is why the government felt that there must be a level playing field. All media platforms must have the same justice system,” Mr Javadekar said. 

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