GS 3 Science and Technology Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
An Over-The-Top (‘OTT’ media service) is a streaming media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet.
OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has found a vast swathe of unregulated content, namely news online and Over the top (OTT) platforms which had escaped any architecture of regulation.
- The Union government has brought Over The Top (OTT) platforms, or video streaming service providers such as
- Netflix, Amazon Prime and others, under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Present regulation bodies
- Currently, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content.
- In a gazette notification issued and signed by President Ram Nath Kovind
- online films, digital news and current affairs content now come under the purview of the I&B Ministry.
- While the Print was regulated by the Press Council of India and Television
- Both News and Entertainment, were being regulated by the Cable Networks Regulation Act (2005)
- Content on online, the Government felt, fell into a black hole with no oversight.
- Though there is no regulatory mechanism for OTTs as of now, all such platforms come under the Information technology Act, 2000 as they qualify to be called as Intermediaries.
- Section 79 of the IT Act
- intermediaries must exercise due diligence while streaming content.
- The Guidelines for due diligence have also been framed by the government in 2011.
Over-The-Top platform (OTT)
- OTTs are streaming media services that streams content online.
- Through some means such as applications.
- used to describe the video-on-demand platforms like Netflix, Amazon prime, etc
- also include audio streaming, messaging, internet-based voice calling services.
- bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.
- Content is streamed over the public Internet, rather than a closed, private network with proprietary equipment such as set-top boxes.
- OTT is also used by traditional distributors of content to live stream specialty channels.
- The issue of content regulation has always been important in India because of the diverse nature of Indian society
- in terms of religion, economic status, caste and language.
- Therefore, the effect that OTT has on society forms the basis of its regulation by the state.
- The Article 19 which gives a fundamental right to freedom of expression comes with
- reasonable restrictions of decency and public morality
- public order
- incitement to offences etc.
- In times of fast changing entertainment media
- government and other stakeholders must come together
- to bring proper framework that will balance the freedom of expression and necessary restrictions.
- Other countries of the world such as China and USA have come forward to device laws in the wake of progress in artificial intelligence and Internet-of-things.
- India with its huge diversity and demographic nature cannot remain behind.
- In January 2019, video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for content on these platforms.
- The code adopted by the OTTs prohibited five types of content:
- Content that deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag.
- Any visual or storyline that promotes child pornography.
- Any content that maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments.
- Content that deliberately and maliciously promotes or encourages terrorism
- Any content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by law or court.
- The government had refused to support this code.
Freedom of Creativity
- As the medium working on Internet which is relatively free from the regulations and censorship norms
- it gives a free hand to the content creators to experiment without the fear of getting censored in the end.
- OTTs are
- relatively new
- free from formulaic content generation
- accepted public morality standards
- are highly liberated medium for creative art.
- The government had been giving enough hints from time to time that it wanted to regulate digital media
- but the exact nature of the regulation it wanted to bring was not clear.
- The government considers digital media and digital aggregators in the same breath but they are different things.
- It is unclear whether it is looking at licensing or entry barriers, or any other curbs in digital media.
- There should be a finished industry tie for the achievement of the self-guideline system.
- An excess of restriction/guideline could influence the innovative freedom of the content essayists/makers and that thusly will influence the viewership of OTT platforms.
The regulatory framework for OTT platforms has been a work-in-progress since a large portion of 10 years and it would appear that we actually have a couple of gaps to fill in.
However, monitoring content 24×7 has its own challenges. Ministry has to will set up a committee involving the public to look into complaints received remains to be seen.