India’s new rules for OTT platforms could lead an increase in content-related disputes
- The Indian government’s new IT rules for over-the-top (OTT) platforms ask for a three-tier grievance system and content classification.
- While this may create a forum where users can air their complaints, it could also result in an uptake of content related disputes in India.
- The likes of
Hotstar, Netflix, Amazon Prime Videoand others will have to steer around India’s diverse sensibilities, cultures and beliefs.
Until now content on OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and others were largely unregulated, allowing them to cater to varied sensibilities. However, content on OTT platforms has also courted controversy time and again.
View all Offers
View all Offers
AmazonBasics High Back Executive Chair (Brown, Leather)₹ 9999₹ 18000Buy On
- 33% OFF
Spacewood Engineered Wood Winner Study Table (Natural Wenge Finish)₹ 7999₹ 11090Buy On
- 32% OFF
Cello Novelty Plastic Big 2 Door Cupboard - Blue and Grey₹ 4789₹ 7020Buy On
Amazon Brand - Solimo Comber High Back Mesh Office Chair (Grey & White)₹ 10089₹ 40000Buy On
- 11% OFF
Duroflex Back Magic - Doctor Recommended Orthopaedic High Density Coir, 5 Inch Queen Size Firm Mattress for Back Support and Posture Alignment (78 X 60 X 5 Inches)₹ 15719₹ 20809Buy On
Significant compliances have been introduced for OTT platforms such as certification of films and web-series, and parental locks. A 3-tier grievance redressal mechanism has been prescribed for OTT platforms as well as news portals. This might eventually lead to a substantial increase in content related disputes in India.
The three levels of addressing complaints
OTT platforms and news portals will have to formulate a robust three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.
AdvertisementThe rules provide for two levels of self regulation. First, self-regulation by the platform through a grievance redressal officer and, second, by an institutional self-regulatory body comprising industry experts and headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or other independent eminent personality in the relevant field.
This is followed by the third level of oversight through an interdepartmental committee constituted by the government. This committee will hear appeals arising out of decisions taken at level two, and if a complaint is referred to the committee by the Ministry of Information and Broadcast (MIB).
The maze of India's many moods
While an institutional self-regulation mechanism may enable citizens to have their concerns heard through a formal process within definite time frames; the oversight mechanism by the government certainly tightens the government’s grip on the overall operations of OTT platforms.
A big challenge for OTT platforms, while dealing with complaints, will be to steer around diverse sensibilities, cultures and beliefs of the Indian audience and their demands for different genres of content.
It is also essential to not overlook the fact that content curation of OTT players offer ‘video-on-demand’ services, and curate content based on demands of viewers, often analysed basis viewership data and trends.
While a certain type of content is perceived as offensive by a certain section of public, it is popular amongst another. It is unclear as to how OTT platforms are expected to practically redress grievances from different users.
OTT platforms are required to classify all films, web- series or other shows, based on:
- age of viewers
themes and messages
- violence, nudity, sex, language, substance abuse, horror, content, tone and impact
- implement parental controls
*Tanu Banerjee is a partner, Ishan Johri is a senior associate and Garima Kedia is an associate at law firm Khaitan & Co. Views expressed here are personal.
Whatsapp, Signal and Telegram face a catch-22 situation as India’s new social media rules threaten encryption
Facebook and Twitter have a ton of new rules to abide by in India — WhatsApp may find itself in the toughest spot of all
Indian government assumes the right to block digital news content along with a new set of regulations
Popular on BI
- Ethereum may not have too long to get its high gas fee issue in check, according to JPMorgan
- Terra's LUNA token continues to hold its own even in a crypto bear market — here's why
- SEBI is hiring young graduate professionals for a monthly stipend of ₹60,000, last date is January 25
- HUL spent Rs 1,193 crore on advertising between October and December 2021
- Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant and Ravichandran Ashwin included in ICC Men's Test team of the Year 2021