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Self-regulation code for video streaming in India gets mixed support

Most online video streaming platforms in India have agreed to a code of self-regulation that may receive endorsement from the country’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, reports the Economic Times. “But divisions among companies on the principle of self-regulation and details of it persist. Netflix, Star India’s Hotstar, Reliance Jio, Zee5, AltBalaji, SonyLiv and MX Player are among those that have agreed to sign up. Amazon Prime Video, Google and Facebook are the notable exceptions.” The code has been drafted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and is set out in a document, “Code of best practices for online curated content providers”. It is said to stop online video platforms from showing content that’s banned by Indian courts, “disrespects” the national emblem and flag, “outrages” religious sentiments, “promotes” terrorism or violence against the state and shows children in sexual acts. Star India MD, Sanjay Gupta, said that the company has always believed in self-regulation. “People should be responsible for content that they put out. And if we need to create edgier content, it should be done by active choice,” Gupta said. An Amazon India spokesperson said, “While we are assessing the situation, we believe that current laws are adequate to fulfil this mission.”

The code calls for a grievance redressal mechanism. In the IAMAI-drafted code, this mechanism is the responsibility of a one-tier body: a “content compliance department” within the company. “There were suggestions of a tier 2, called the “OVP (online video platforms) content committee”, an independent body that would “address the grievances of viewers”. But Netflix and Zee5 did not endorse a two-tiered system, the Economic Times notes. Some experts are apprehensive of the self-regulation code. “These proposals ostensibly for self-censorship are worrying as they seem to replicate the television model of content control for internet video streaming providers,” said Apar Gupta, executive director of the New Delhi-based Internet Freedom Foundation. Read more

  • Wednesday, 23 January 2019

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