There have been calls for self-regulating mechanism for Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms similar to print media, instead for government regulation. Discuss.
With the rise of OTT platforms in India, the need for their regulation arose. Hence, government passed the order for regulating OTT platforms like Amazon, Netflix, Hotstar, etc under the IT Act.
Rationale behind the regulation:
- Growing obscene programs on these platforms.
- Crime and violence are prevalent on the content, which can be accessed without any age limit.
- Prevent access to children.
- Lack of rating, like movies which are done by censor board of India.
- Prevent misuse of platform.
This move of the government has been resisted by the OTT platforms and many players called for self-regulation, just like the print media.
They have resisted on various grounds, such as:
- Government can misuse it, if it doesn’t like criticism of its policies and actions.
- As platforms are medium for free speech, this is an indirect way of censorship.
- Self-regulation is an efficient tool for controlling the type of content.
There is no doubt that some kind of regulation is needed as the content can be harmful specially for children. Thus, there is a need for some middle ground, where government needs to engage with stakeholders in upholding free speech.