I&B min to come up with list of prohibited content for OTT platforms: Report

MUMBAI: The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry is likely to issue a ‘negative’ list of don’ts for video streaming services, according to a report by The Hindu.

The report further stated that the ministry will also push video streaming platforms to come up with a self-regulatory body on the lines of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA).

“We are not attempting censorship. We will only be issuing a negative list, few non-negotiables that will be prohibited. This will be basic things like ensuring that the Indian map is depicted correctly, to ensure that women are not depicted in a denigrating manner,” the report quotes a top official of I&B ministry as saying on condition of anonymity.

“We would like the OTTs to come up with a self-regulatory body drawing members from among themselves like the News Broadcasting Standards Authority; the body will not be expected to do any pre-censorship of the content,” the top official added.

Recently, I&B minister Prakash Javadekar had suggested that there is a need to have some kind of regulation for over-the-top platforms (OTT) on the lines of print, electronic media, and films.

In an interaction with PTI journalists at the news agency’s headquarters, Javadekar said that the mainstream media outlets have complained that there was no level-playing field as OTT platforms are completely unregulated.

“I have sought suggestions on how to deal with this because there are regular feature films coming on OTT — good, bad and ugly. So how to deal with this, who should monitor, who should regulate. There is no certification body for OTT platforms and likewise news portals also,” he had said.

The Press Council of India takes care of the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes care of films.

Addressing a two-day seminar on Film Certification and Regulation of Online content in Mumbai recently, I&B secretary Amit Khare had said that the ministry is encouraging the widest possible consultations among all stakeholders, on the regulation of online content.

He had stated that norms, self-regulation or any other system of regulations on Online Curated Content that is devised should be implementable, widely acceptable and easily enforceable.

In January 2019, eight video streaming platforms Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix, and Eros Now had voluntarily signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The Code, which has been in the works for over a year, establishes guiding principles for Online Curated Content (OCC) Providers to conduct themselves in a responsible and transparent manner and at the same time ensures that consumer interests are protected.

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