Monitoring OTT Content

Monitoring OTT Content

(The Hindu)


  • The Indian government recently inducted a 3-tier mechanism to address plants against platforms.
  • Under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, the code has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) contents.
  • Also, the government has armed itself with emergency powers to block the general public access to any information it deems fit.
  • The government had issued these guidelines in the scenario where more than 50 questions related to regulating the online content have been asked in Parliament.

How does it work:

  • First level: 
  • The grievance redressal structure will be at the beginning of each OTT provider. Each and every objection/charge will have to be carefully evaluated and addressed within 15 days.
  • Second level:
  • If the objection is not adequately addressed, then the complainant can take it up to a self-regulatory body collectively constituted by the OTTs. 
  • This body will be chaired by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights, or any other relevant fields.
  • This body will also have censuring powers in case of any content found that’s identified as incriminating.
  • Third level:
  • At this level, the government has handed itself overriding powers in the form of an oversight tool. 
  • An inter-ministerial committee will execute this function and it will have the same powers as the self-regulatory body of the OTTs as mentioned in the second level.


  • There is no mechanism to define what would be incriminating content and how subjective the view of the complainant is, with regards to this matter.
  • The redressal time frame given to the content providers is claimed to be too harsh as significant time and effort would drain their revenue in addressing each and every complaint.
  • Ultimately, it’s the Union govt that holds the final authority on the matter, without giving an opportunity of hearing to the publishing platform.

Way ahead:

  • Self-regulation is an excellent idea to instill a sense of responsibility among the content creators.
  • Making them accountable for the content will invite a wider sense of inclusiveness as a society, however, the firm hands of the State can spoil the party and the emergency powers must be traded with carefully.

Daily Current Affairs 26 February 2021.

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