GS Paper 2
Source: The Hindu
Context: Even after two years of issuing the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules there has not been much improvement in the regulation of OTT platforms.
- India’s approach can be termed as a light-touch ‘co-regulation’ model where there is ‘self-regulation’ at the industry level and final ‘oversight mechanism’ at the Ministry level.
Issues plaguing OTT regulation:
- Lack of awareness: The Rules mandate the display of contact details relating to grievance redressal mechanisms and grievance officers on OTT websites/interface. However, compliance is very low.
- While the Rules require disclosure of grievance details by publishers and self-regulating bodies, the reporting formats only capture the number of complaints received and decided
- Ambiguity around content regulation
- Jurisdictional issues: Many OTT platforms are based outside India, which makes it difficult to enforce regulations and hold them accountable.
- Freedom of expression concerns.
- The OTT industry associations could be mandated to run periodic campaigns in print and electronic media about the grievance redressal mechanism
- The interpretation of age rating (UA 13+, for example) and the content descriptors ( ‘violence’, for instance) could be in the respective languages of the video (apart from English).
- An independent body may undertake a periodic audit.
- The Ministry could consider facilitating a dedicated umbrella website wherein the details of applicable Rules, content codes, advisories, contact details for complaints/appeals, etc. are published.
Examples from other countries:
- The Infocomm Media Development Authority is the common regulator for different media. Apart from instituting a statutory framework and promoting industry self-regulation, its approach to media regulation emphasizes on promoting media literacy through public education.