Report on Shemaroo

IAMAI didn’t give adequate cognisance to content prohibited under law: Javadekar

There were issues of conflict of interest, he added.

KOLKATA: Talks of content regulation have taken centre-stage in the over-the-top (OTT) ecosystem. Recent controversies around major films and shows like Tandav, AK vs AK, A Suitable Boy among others have elicited concern from the regulatory side. Hopes of self-regulation have fizzled out with the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) refusing to approve the self-regulatory code for online curated content platforms created by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

The ministry felt that the mechanism proposed by IAMAI did not give adequate cognisance to content prohibited under law and there were issues of conflict of interest, I&B minister Prakash Javadekar informed the Lok Sabha.

The Union minister's remarks came after 21 members of Parliament cutting across party lines sought an answer from the government whether it is aware that content on OTT platforms – like Amazon Prime and Netflix – is full of "sex, violence, abuse, vulgarity and disrespect to religious sentiments."

“The government has received several grievances/complaints regarding content of programmes on OTT platforms. The government also has held several consultations with the OTT players, including with IAMAI impressing upon them the need for having an appropriate self-regulatory mechanism for content over OTT platforms. In August 2020, the IAMAI had informed the ministry that a self-regulatory mechanism had been developed for the OTT platforms,” Javadekar detailed.

He assured that the MIB will soon release a regulatory code for OTT platforms after receiving numerous complaints regarding content showcased by them.

While there were talks going on for a long time around regulating OTT content, the Centre brought online content jurisdiction under the ambit of MIB last year. A gazette notification stated that films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers, news and current affairs content on online platforms would come under MIB’s purview.

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