For legislation of the land

With concern about content, on digital media and OTT platforms, the Government of India released fresh guidelines on Thursday. In a press conference addressed by I & B Minister Prakash Javadekar and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, there was a push for self-regulating bodies and codes of practices.

Writer, director and producer Madhureeta Anand welcomed the move to self-classify the content into age-based categories and the thrust on self-regulation on OTT. “While self regulation has already begun and the industry is self-censoring heavily but there also have to be some measures to deal with fringe groups such as in the case of Tandav. Something like arrest warrants against studio executives is ridiculous.”

(L-R) Nila Madhab Panda, Nikkesha and Paritosh Tripathi

She is wary of the possibility of the self-regulation body to be headed by a retired judge, “Once a retired judge comes in, it’s not self- regulation but sounds superciliously like back-door regulation.”

Actress Nikkesha, who has acted in web series Haq Se and also in Telugu and Tamil movies, says, “In this environment of instant news, verification of it is very important. But the law should not be misused to stifle dissent and free speech. Besides, it should not stop the online channels from making content independently. Stopping rumours and dissemination of false news online and making ratings for OTT content is a good step, but let’s hope it doesn’t scare people from expressing themselves creatively within this framework.”

“I respect the guidelines that have come for social media and OTT platforms. There was too much vulgar content on social media in the name of entertainment. Categorising the content age-group wise is the correct decision taken by the committee. Every day we see so many rumours spreading like wildfire on social media, which certainly creates a lot of problems for us and for the country. Such kind of action was really required.” says actor Paritosh Tripathi.

Director Nila Madhab Panda, National Award winner for the film I Am Kalam, welcomes the move, “The rule that the OTT platforms will have to classify content according to different age groups, is something that was necessary. It’s not just India, if you see countries worldwide; there are guidelines in accordance to the society. These guidelines will create a level-playing field for all media as well as lead to safety and will eventually lead to a better situation in the OTT industry. It will also lead to shutting down of quite a few unregulated apps which relied on obscene content. Eventually it could pave way for quality content becoming the norm.” — TNS

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