Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on Thursday said that over-the-top, or OTT, platforms would not have to register with the ministry and that a self-regulating body under the new digital rules would have no members appointed by the government.
The Centre had on February 25 notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, under the Information Technology Act, 2000. The new set of rules are for regulating social media companies, streaming and digital news content, virtually bringing them, for the first time, under the ambit of government supervision.
As part of the rules, the Centre had proposed a three-tier mechanism for the platforms to address content-related matters. The first layer would be officials appointed by these companies. The second- would be a self-regulatory body to address complaints. The third tier would be a government-appointed panel.
“Informing the industry representatives about the provisions of the rules, the Minister [Prakash Javadekar] said it merely requires them to disclose information and that there is no requirement of registration of any kind with the Ministry,” the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said in a statement. “The minister added that a form for this will be ready soon.”
The statement was issued after Javadekar met representatives of OTT platforms such as Alt Balaji, Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Jio, Zee5, Viacom18, Shemaroo, and MxPlayer.
On Thursday, Javadekar allayed the fears of such platforms, saying that the rules focus on self-classification of content instead of imposing any form of censorship. “Speaking on the power of the government, under the rules, the Hon’ble Minister informed that the government will create Inter-Departmental Committee to look at complaints which remain unresolved at the self-regulatory level,” the statement said.
Javadekar said the platforms were expected to develop an effective grievance redressal mechanism to tackle complaints raised about the content on their respective streaming services.
The statement said that industry representatives welcomed the rules and thanked the Union minister for addressing most of their concerns. “Finally the minster added that the Ministry is open to any clarification or queries from the industry,” it said.