The time has come for specific rules for streaming services. India’s 15 leading OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, have signed a self-regulation code to keep an eye on their content.
The COVID-19 lockdown has ushered the demand for streaming services all around the globe. With cinema halls being closed, people turned to the only source of fresh entertainment- OTT (over-the-top) platforms. The streaming apps are buzzing with big-ticket world-class entertainers. With the growing demand for the OTT platforms, users have been grumbling about the type of content available. Most of them are fussing about too much nudity or violence in films, and web series streamed online.
Now that 15 leading OTT platforms and digital content companies have signed a self-regulation code to keep a check on their curated content. The code was released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The signatories include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ Hotstar, Jio Cinemas, Voot, ZEE5, Eros Now, Hungama, Shemaroo, Alt Balaji, Discovery Plus, MX Player, Flickstree, Arre, and HoiChoi.
Sony LIV is yet to sign the code. Tarun Katial, the chairperson of the IAMAI’s Digital Entertainment Committee, said, “Most of the major streaming services have adopted the Code, and we look forward to others joining.” After a lot of deliberation by IAMAI’s Digital Entertainment Committee, the code was finally known as The “Universal Self-Regulation Code for OCCPs” (Online Curated Content Providers).
With the Framework for Age Classification, Content Descriptions, and parental controls combined with a grievance redressal system, we’ve made it easier for consumers to make the right viewing decisions for themselves and their families.”
The code comprises a framework for content descriptions for titles and age classification to empower the consumers in making informed choices and control viewing decisions. It also includes a transparent and organized mechanism for grievance redressal for reporting their dissent with the prescribed guidelines.
As a part of this mechanism, different bodies will set up. Namely, a consumer complaint department, an advisory panel, and an internal committee. They will deal with consumers’ complaints and appeals.
Government regulations have controlled every form of creative media like Tv, print, films, etc. OTT platforms remained aloof. But not anymore. The absence of censorship on digital platforms has been a topic for debate for quite some time now.
Many believed that the limitations would restrict the work of art. The makers would no longer have the freedom to create content that they want to make. More and more creators have been joining the OTT platforms to tell the stories in whatever way they want, unlike in traditional film medium.
However, the other half looked at it as something that is encouraging explicit sex, violence, foul language, sexual abuse, and outrageous religious comments in the name of creativity. They wanted to draw a line somewhere between nurturing creativity and intercepting lewd or offensive content.
The bold and unconventional content on these platforms has been under a lot of scrutinies. Series like Netflix’s Sacred Games or Amazon Prime’s Paatal Lok was criticized for promoting cuss words and loathsome content. On the other hand, Netflix’s 365 days was slammed for loaded sex scenes.
The government had given the digital producers two options. Either to self-police the content or let them barge in. Choosing the former path, they are now free from the government’s censorship.