Tandav director Ali Abbas Zafar says OTT guidelines will help: 'We had to run from pillar to post to prevent an arrest'
Most filmmakers welcome the new guidelines for OTT while Onir called it 'death of Cinema and Good content'. Ali Abbar Zafar has called it a good step
Tandav director Ali Abbas Zafar has hailed the new guidelines for digital media and OTT platforms as revolutionary. Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar and Ravi Shankar Prasad held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce the new rules.
In the wake of several complaints received from the civil society members, the government had been working on the new guidelines for a few months. The new rules mandate intermediaries to ensure and exercise "due caution and discretion" in relation to the general principles around online curated content.
Seeking to establish a soft-touch regulatory framework, the government said OTT platforms would have to self-classify the content into five age-based categories - U (Universal), U/A 7 (years), U/A 13 , U/A 16 , and A (Adult). The guidelines also make provision for a committee to address the grievances of the audience.
Responding to the new rules, Ali Abbas wrote about the struggles of his web series Tandav on News 18, "In January, our show Tandav was released on an OTT platform. It was the fruit of our labour and we were anxious as to how it would be received, like any other film we make. However, once the show was aired, certain sections of society were offended with certain scenes in the show. At that time, we had to run from pillar to post to prevent an arrest. Had the guidelines been present then, it would have served a two-fold purpose: we would have been self-informed in advance as to what is permissible and what isn’t and secondly, once the show was in line with the guidelines, we would have not have had to run from pillar to post. That is why I whole-heatedly welcome these self-regulatory guidelines."
He added, "In a country where millions of people are online on various portals, and new ones spring every day, these draft regulations clarify what was till now a grey area and enable content producers to judiciously self-regulate without impeding the creative boundaries."
He also wrote, "What is equally heartening to note is that the government has been forthright in reinforcing and respecting the right of every Indian to critique, dissent and have an opinion of her own, as an essential element of democracy. Being a large and unique open society, it is imperative to prevent any reversal to the situation we witnessed during the mid-1970s when our freedoms were snuffed out."
Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri told ANI, "There has been a demand since a long time especially from teachers, parents, activist to have a control on the perversion on OTT platforms. And it is in a way good, to know that the new guidelines address it. And they also will be considering the women who are objectified or any kind of disrespect shown towards women, which is a very good move."
Ekta Kapoor and Prasoon Joshi also praised the development. "Heartening to see the new guidelines that provide a level playing field for digital news media and OTT platforms. #ResponsibleFreedom," Ekta tweeted.
Prasoon also wrote in a series of tweets, "Measures taken for a level playing field and empowering consumers would provide clarity for content creators of emerging platforms. Responsible and accountable mechanisms will only bring in more quality and maturity in a commercial creative industry. @PrakashJavdekar @rsprasad. Initiative by MIETY @MIB_India to balance business interest of digital,SM platform & empowering users provides clarity. In a commercial industry even a creatively commercial one-if the audiences’ share of wallet is asked for,their share of voice needs to be taken cognisance of."
Filmmaker Onir, however, was not so happy with the development. He tweeted, "The death of Cinema and Good content . Stab the artist and keep everyone happy . The worst that a democracy can do to an artist is this regulation of OTT."