Centre has maintained a soft-touch approach towards content regulation of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms, leading to a self-regulatory mechanism that has been functioning well, according to Apurva Chandra, the Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB).
Chandra, while speaking at FICCI Frames 2023, stated that OTTs have experienced phenomenal growth during the COVID-19 period and the government has received only one complaint about OTT content so far, the rest are being dealt with either by OTTs or by the self-regulatory mechanism.
“We came up with the self-regulation mechanism in 2021 and I believe that OTTs are quite happy with that and the system is functioning well,” Chandra said but he emphasised the need for self-regulation to be exercised properly - since there are complaints coming regarding the quality of content or the language used during OTT content.
“We would like this sector to grow fast and not to get bogged down by regulations,” he added.
Earlier, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur, while taking a tough stand on complaints against content on OTT platforms, had said that vulgarity and abusive language is not acceptable in the name of creativity. He also said the government had taken a serious view on complaints of vulgarity and abusive language in the content on OTT platforms and will not hesitate to take tough action to stop this trend.
While speaking about the broadcast sector, Chandra went on to say that the Centre is aiming to reduce regulations by easing uplinking and downlinking guidelines. Permissions previously required for uplinking have been reduced to mere intimation, while the requirements for uplinking channels from outside India will be significantly reduced.
“We will reduce the paperwork required for uplinking channels that are not being downlinked within the country, in a bid to make India a hub for uplinking similar to other countries. Neighbouring countries currently go to places like Singapore and Dubai to uplink their channels,” he added.