Question : In the recent Covid era we have seen increasing presence of many OTT platforms and social media platforms. Discuss the issues emanating from this increased influence and the need for controlling these platforms? What are the possible solutions to overcome this issue? (15 marks, 250 words)
OTT platforms have become a stress buster as well as a help during the pandemic time, but many issues related with it have dimmed its beauty.
Issues emanating from the increased influence of OTT and other media platforms
- Video streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have become key distributors for new movies and entertainment content during the COVID restrictions and have multiplied their subscribers in India in recent years. But they do not require any certification before any new releases.
- In contrast, new movies, before theatrical release, have to get through the certification process of the Central Board of Film Certification. This may bring in malicious content to the public.
- Due to the absence of certification, religious dogmatic contents and the unprecedented spread of adult contents have been noticed in OTT platforms.
Need for controlling Social Media
- Ability of digital/social Media to Reach, Scale and size is huge compare to print and other media.
- While electronic media in India is regulated by the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act of 1995, there was no law or body to oversee digital content. Some people are taking an undue advantage which leads to too much voice and noise in social media.
- Recently, India has seen a surge in the number of fake news items in circulation, especially on WhatsApp and Face book.
- Absence of editorial control in digital/ social media leads to large scale user-generated content which is unregulated
- In 2018, fake information that was circulated on WhatsApp led to the lynching of five men in Maharashtra and there are many such instances.
- In this time, when India is in conflict with its neighbouring countries like China and Pakistan, there is a possibility of Foreign-funded digital platforms running to defame our country.
- There is also evidence of fake information influencing the process of election in the USA which undermines the root of democracy.
- From Social/digital media side has to have a corporate responsibility
- Misinformation has to tackle with information like the one did by YouTube in tackling false information.
- They have to publish transparency reports from their side like Facebook
- From the Government Side
- The government should pass an Act like that of the US to establish a self-regulatory system for media platforms and to hire content moderators to moderate the contents getting published on their platform
- With recent reports posting a number of internet connections recently crossed the 750 million milestones in India, Digital Literacy Programmes has to be encouraged along with Digital India Mission
- Model Code of Conduct implemented by Election Commission of India has been effective and efficient in curbing fake news and misinformation in social/digital media during elections, Government should appoint a study committee to explore the scalability of the same to other aspects as well.
- From Society
- People should understand that freedom in social/digital media should complement with responsibilities envisaged in the Fundamental Duties.
Regulating social/digital media cannot be done from one side. All the stakeholders should have to contribute for the betterment of the platform as a whole is the key else India might follow the USA (Most Americans get their News from suspicious internet source which resulted in extreme polarization of citizen’s view).