Self-regulation model may work for OTT companies: Govt

BENGALURU: The authorities has mentioned it doesn’t have powers to manage web content material, however prompt an institutional self-regulatory mannequin much like conventional media, a transfer that the majority on-line video streaming platforms have rejected.

The authorities advised this in an affidavit to the Supreme Court, responding to a petition looking for censorship and licensing of those firms.

Streaming platforms together with Netflix, Zee5, AltBalaji, Arre and MX Player have opposed a latest transfer by 4 gamers — Hotstar, Voot, Jio and SonyLiv — to kind a Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC).

Amazon Prime has additionally refused to hitch the brand new council.

DCCC, an adjudicatory physique, can be headed by a retired choose and have representations from {industry} and the federal government.

“Individual OTT media platforms are in the best position to determine the nature of the content and the kind of restrictions that it requires. Each platform can put a process and system in place based on their respective viewer demographics, market share, business strategies and revenue models,” mentioned Karan Bedi, CEO of MX Player. “We certainly believe self-regulation is the best way forward.”

MX Player is owned by Times Internet, part of the Times Group which additionally publishes this newspaper.

Companies opposing the thought of an industry-wide adjudicatory physique imagine they should have autonomy to resolve on content material and resolve shopper complaints on their very own.

“It may be relevant to have an institutional mechanism of self-regulation by these media platforms as in respect of other media – print and electronic – along with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology Act and the rules framed thereunder,” the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) mentioned in its affidavit.

It added that the federal government has predominantly believed within the spirit of self-regulation, besides in issues of safety and sovereignty of the nation.

“We fully endorse MIB’s recommendation that the best way forward is to let the internet and over-the-top industry self-regulate by emulating the successful model of self-regulation put in place by the BCCC (Broadcasting Content Complaints Council) over the years,” mentioned Ashok Nambissan, General Counsel and Director of Sony Pictures Networks India.

The petition filed by non-governmental organisation Justice for Rights Foundation (JRF) seeks the formulation of pointers or laws to manage on-line content material and to censor what it describes as sexually specific, vulgar and violent content material.

“This (government reply) seems like a tacit support to the adjudicatory body formed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). It will gain legal sanctity if it is recognised by the Supreme Court. There is a risk of internet content becoming like television” mentioned Apar Gupta, Executive Director at Internet Freedom Foundation, which has written to the federal government towards DCCC.

The authorities in its newest reply additionally mentioned there have been authorized cures underneath the Information Technology Act if web platforms are transmitting obscene content material.

“The argument made by the MIB is talking about post-screening remedies if they make a mistake. If there is no regulatory body, they can show whatever they want to show. There is nothing like self-regulation. Private firms can’t regulate themselves,” mentioned JRF founder Satyam Singh Rajput.

The particular go away petition was filed within the Supreme Court final 12 months towards a choice of the Delhi High Court, which had dismissed its lawsuit calling for censorship.

Netflix and Amazon Prime declined to remark. Emails despatched to MIB, Jio and ErosNow didn’t elicit a response.

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