OTT industry representatives welcome new guidelines, says Javadekar
Union minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday representatives from the Over the Top (OTT) industry welcomed the fresh guidelines issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting adding they would partner together towards making the experience on the platform better for the audience.
The I&B ministry issued the guidelines last week to monitor content on social media and OTT platforms—under which they would be required to remove any content flagged by authorities within 36 hours and further set up a grievance redressal mechanism.
“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 wrote on Twitter.
The Centre’s new guidelines for all forms of digital media place more emphasis on in-house and self-regulation mechanisms by which a robust grievance redressal mechanism has been provided while upholding journalistic and creative freedom.
Under the guidelines, OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime will now be required to self-classify their content into five age-based categories - U (Universal), U/A 7+ (years), U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). This categorisation was brought in the backdrop of these platforms coming under fire for broadcasting content that was seen as obscene and hurting the country’s religious sentiments on multiple occasions.
Javadekar had said last week that such platforms would have to implement parental locks for content which is U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age-verification mechanisms for content classified as ‘A’. “The publishers of online curated content will also have to prominently display the classification rating specific to a programme together with a content descriptor, he added,” the Union minister added.
Echoing the Centre’s decision of a self-regulation mechanism, I&B ministry secretary Amit Khare had told Hindustan Times on February 27 that OTT platforms would not be required to get approval from the certification committee before putting out their content online. “The government has left the decision up to them. They can decide what labels to use. The idea is that the viewer should be aware of what they will be watching.” Kharge added. He also pointed out that the Centre would not alter the content available