Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday, 2 March, gave OTT platforms 100 days to set up an adjudicatory body and finalise a code of conduct. The ultimatum was issued following a meeting with representatives from Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, MX Player, ALTBalaji, Hotstar, Voot, Jio, SonyLIV and Arre in Delhi.
Javadekar emphasised the need for self-regulation, claiming that it is necessary since most Indian households watch OTT content together, reported Mumbai Mirror. He also offered China, France and Singapore as examples of government-imposed regulation. According to a source associated with the DCCC, the government has so far said there will be no censorship of content, rather it expects these platforms to come up with a better way of segregating and categorising content for different age groups.
Last January, the Internet and Mobile Association (IAMA) drafted a code of conduct for OTT platforms which sought to curb the streaming of content that is banned by Indian courts, “disrespects the national emblem or national flag”, hurts religious sentiments, or “promotes violence against the State or its institution”. It also called for the formation of the Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC), an adjudicatory body that would field complaints related to online content. However, not all platforms agreed to sign it. In February, retired Justice AP Shah was appointed as chairman of the DCCC, though its composition and strength is yet to be determined.
While other platforms have not commented on the proceedings, Karan Bedi, CEO, MX Player, told Mumbai Mirror that the representatives were in talks and would present their views to the ministry once a consensus is reached.