New OTT guidelines intended to empower the public, safeguard platforms: I&B secretary

By Sahil Pandey The new guidelines for regulating Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms and digital media by the Ministry of Information and Transmission (I&B) are intended to empower the public and also to safeguard OTT platforms, I&B Secretary Amit Khare said Friday.

Khare said the government fully understands that there are different types of media, but stressed that there should be a level playing field. “We are empowering citizens to make informed choices and the benchmarks we have kept on age are an international practice. Go to any country, so disclosure is done on the basis of self-classification unlike films where the classification is done by the Central Board of Film Certification. Here the classification will be done by the platforms but they will inform that this is according to the age criteria, ”Khare told ANI.

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The I&B secretary, speaking of OTT and online media, said that these sectors are new and growing and empower citizens. “There are three objectives: first, an institutional mechanism for this sector. Second, many times ordinary citizens feel powerless that they have no redress system for their grievances. So a complaints repair system empowers the citizen in case of misunderstanding or if he feels he has been wronged, he can write to someone and go to the authority. The third objective is to introduce a kind of level playing field between the different media. After when the same content is in print, then there is a different regulation; if it’s on television, different regulation and if it’s on OTT, there is no regulation, ”Khare said.

The government fully understands that the types of media are different but there should be a level playing field. “There should be a level playing field and we fully understand that and will repeat that we fully understand that the type of media is as different as TV is different. from movies and films are different from web series. We can’t have the same criteria, but there should be some kind of similarity in the goal post and a level playing field doesn’t mean the same pitch for everyone, but there should be some kind of similarity in regulation. Therefore, what has been announced is a soft touch self-regulation mechanism with minimal government interference, “he added.

He also pointed out that the government has full confidence in the Indian platform as the guidelines are not much of compliance but more of a disclosure. “We have full confidence in Indian platforms, whether it is OTT readers or digital news, as this is not a major compliance, but more of a disclosure. They would disclose information like who is the publisher, who is the complaints officer to file any complaints. If there is a complaint against a newspaper, write the letter to the editor. If there is a complaint against a TV show there is NBSA. You can write them. We just want them to reveal the information. If a citizen hears that some portal makes an allegation that that person wants to refute, then he should know where he can send an email to refuse. It’s more of a self-disclosure system. In the worst case scenario that we do not foresee, the provisions of the IT Act will apply, ”said Khare.

Khare added that the government represents journalistic freedom and this has been much more liberal than for the press, TV or movies and now the other three sectors are demanding that the government be more liberal with them. There should be a self-classification of content for OTT platforms, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said Thursday as he unveiled the new digital media policies.

“For OTT, there should be self-rating of content for categories 13+, 16+ and Adult. There needs to be a parental lock mechanism and ensure compliance that kids don’t see it,” Javadekar said at a news conference. . OTT platforms, called curated content publishers online in the rules, will categorize content into five age-based categories which are U (Universal), U / A 7+, U / A 13+, U / A 16+, and A ( Adult).

According to the information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media) 2021, platforms should implement parental lockdown for content rated U / A 13+ or above and reliable age verification mechanisms for content rated “A”. The publisher of curated content online must prominently display the specific classification rating for each content or program along with a content descriptor that informs the user of the nature of the content and gives advice on the viewer description (if applicable) At the beginning of each program which enables the user to make an informed decision, before watching the program, read the guidelines.

The Rules seek to empower users by mandating intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a complaints redress mechanism to receive complaint resolution from users or victims. Intermediaries will appoint a complaints officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of that officer. The complaints manager will acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days from its reception.

To ensure the online safety and dignity of users, especially women, intermediaries must remove or disable access within 24 hours of receiving content complaints exposing people’s private areas, showing such people in full or partial nudity either in sexual activity or in the nature of representation, including transformed images. Such a complaint can be made by the individual or by any other person on his or her behalf. According to the guidelines, users who wish to voluntarily verify their accounts must be provided with an appropriate mechanism to do so and a demonstrable and visible verification sign is provided. (ANI)

(This story was not edited by our team of editors and is generated from a feed.)

News Highlights:

  • The new guidelines to regulate OTT (Over-The-Top) platforms and digital media by the Ministry of Information and Transmission (I&B) are aimed at empowering the public and also safeguarding OTT platforms, he said on Friday. the secretary of I&B Amit Khare.
  • New OTT guidelines intended to empower the public, safeguard platforms: I&B secretary