The Centre has notified the new IT rules for digital news publishers and OTT (Over The Top) platforms. The new rules aim to bring online news published under the same regulations as the traditional media publishers such as news channels or newspapers.
Under the new rules, OTT players and digital news publishers will have to set up a grievance redressal mechanism and furnish necessary information to the government.
The Information & Broadcasting Ministry on Thursday said that the Central government has notified the new rules under which OTT players and digital news publishers will need to set up a grievance redressal mechanism and furnish necessary information to the government. The Central Government notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on Thursday.
The new rules will apply to social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Hotstar, and several others.
The Centre had on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 have been put in place an institutional mechanism for adherence to Digital Media Ethics Code by the OTT platforms.
It said the government was seized of the need for developing an institutional mechanism regarding the regulation of audio-visual content streamed on OTT platforms and was consulting the stakeholders over the past two years.
“The Government of India has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on March 25, 2021. Part III of the rules pertaining to digital news publishers and publishers of online curated content (OTT players). The rules require the publishers to adhere to the Code of Ethics, establish a grievance redressal mechanism and furnish information to the Government of India,” the I&B Ministry said.
Earlier this month the Ministry held meetings with OTT players and digital news publishers on the news rules.
According to the code of ethics, OTT players will need to self-classify content on their platforms according to five age-based categories. These include U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). They are required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age-verification mechanisms for content classified as “A”.
A three-tier grievance redressal mechanism will also kick in, of which the government said the first two tiers are geared towards self-regulation.
OTT players will need to have grievance redressal officers who will need to ensure that grievances regarding content on their platforms are addressed within 15 days. As per the second tier, the complainant if dissatisfied, can then take the grievance up to a self-regulatory body, which will be chaired by a retired judge or an eminent person and registered with the I&B Ministry.
Finally, at the third-tier, the government’s oversight mechanism will kick-in and complaints will be addressed by the inter-departmental committee.