We are trusting self-regulation on OTT content: Government on censorship rules

3 months ago 6

New Delhi: Addressing a press conference on new rules for digital platforms, social media and OTT, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said, the social media is welcome to do business in India but there should be no double standards and that it will have to comply with the rules and regulations issued from time-to-time so that its misuse can be prevented. 

The government also announced new guidelines to curb the misuse of social media platforms.

"The laws made for significant social media will be implemented within 3 months so that they can improve their mechanism. The rest will come into effect from the day the rules are notified,'' Prasad said.

Addressing the joint press conference along with Prasad, Union I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said, ''The OTT platforms would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). Platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.

"Publishers of news on digital media would be required to observe Norms of Journalistic Conduct of the Press Council of India and the Programme Code under the Cable Television Networks Regulation) Act thereby providing a level playing field between the offline (Print, TV) and digital media,'' Javadekar said on his turn.

When quizzed about censorship on content available on OTT platforms, Ravi Shankar Prasad added that "we are trusting self-regulation' on OTT. 

"There should be a grievance redressal system in OTT platforms and digital portals. OTT platforms will have to have a self-regulating body, headed by retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or very eminent person in this category,'' Javadekar said while replying to questions on the mechanism for monitoring the content on the OTT platforms.

The I&B Minister said, "We have decided to have a 3-stair mechanism for OTT platforms. OTT and digital news media will have to disclose their details. We are not mandating registration, we are seeking information.''

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