Regulation of OTT Platforms

Published by Parth Dubey on

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OTT or over-the-top media service is referred to those digital streaming media services that are given directly to the people. The content we consume daily, be it any movie, any news, or any other show, all fall under this category.

While many support the censorship of these OTT media services, many can be seen criticizing the same. It is a fact that the government is responsible for the content that its public is consuming but, on the other hand, it is the right of an adult to consume the content he or she wants. It is a grave imperative question if these services should be put under the government’s watch or if the censorship should be self-regulatory.

Regulation Guidelines :

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Electronics, Information and Technology, Telecom, Law and Justice, and CBFC have no control over any OTT platform while BCCC along with these ministries control the entire movie distribution and channel broadcasting all over India.

Now there have been talks of developing a certain body for these streaming platforms. Therefore, the previous year, the Digital Curated Content Complaint Council (DCCCC), an adjudicatory body, was formed by Hotstar, Sony Liv, Jio, and Eros, to deal with the content that is streamed on these platforms. Also, this was done to avoid the imposition and control of the Indian Government in their structure.

According to the Rule 3(2)(b), (c), (e), of Information Technology (Intermediaries guidelines) Rules, 2011, due diligence shall be observed by the intermediaries in displaying, hosting, publishing any obscene, pornographic, or unlawful content and shall not harm minors. Also, according to Rule 3(3), the intermediary shall not knowingly host, initiate transmission of such content.

If we consider the censorship of movies and other TV broadcasts, the certification for release is given by the CBFC or Central Board of Film Certification. This body was formed under Section 5A and B of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

Also, according to the 5E Section of this same act, the Central Government of India has the utmost superiority in the release of any such media, and therefore, it can do remove the certification provided by anybody if it feels so but, after a discussion.

Here are certain grounds on which Regulation is implemented in India :

Regulation laws in India have classified the kind of content that needs proper restriction and this classification is quite just but, in many cases, many movie makers claim, site owners, claim that they have been wronged.

Many guidelines have been issued to e CBFC to implement censorship and similar to these grounds are the censorship of other categories like the Internet is done. There are about 20 guidelines to the CBFC and here are a few:

  • Anti-social operations like violence should not be glorified or put to a great display
  • The modus operandi of criminals, and also, the portrayal of such words, etc should not be done to incite criminal activity.
  • No loss is made to human sensibility via vulgarity, obscenity, or depravity;
  • Scenes in the content that are degrading or denigrating women in any circumstance shouldn’t be present
  • Visuals or words that are slang for degrading races, etc shouldn’t be present.

So, if we give a final take on the fact that Regulation laws in India, it can be said that they are a necessary evil. If not for them, there will be an excess of hateful or vulgar content for people like to profit off of them. The thing is that the Government scraps off any kind of content if it violates any of its guidelines immediately and doesn’t look for alternatives.

But, the OTT platforms are not subject to any kind of regulation, and hence, right now the situation is quite unclear. But, many platforms have made their content quite subtle after worldwide discontentment with some of the content. It will be quite interesting to see how things work out in the future for most of these platforms.


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