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Hotstar, VOOT, others sign up to form complaints council for OTT platforms

  • OTT platforms have agreed to come together and allow for a complaints redressal mechanism through a Digital Curated Content Complaints Council
  • DCCCC will be chaired by retired Justice A.P. Shah and include other members representing digital experts, content creators and eminent personalities

NEW DELHI : Four video streaming platforms including Hotstar, VOOT, SonyLIV and Reliance Jio have signed up for an upcoming code under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) to add a second tier to self-regulation for OTT (over-the-top) space. These platforms have agreed to come together and allow for a complaints redressal mechanism through a Digital Curated Content Complaints Council (DCCCC) that consumers can go to, if their grievances are not addressed by the platform owners.

DCCCC will be chaired by retired Justice A.P. Shah and include other members representing digital experts, content creators and eminent personalities. The council will be formally launched in a couple of weeks. However, it is likely to address complaints on issues relating to content that is disrespectful to women or national symbols and incites hate and violence. “The idea is to empower consumers to air their grievances regarding content yet allow for creative freedom on the streaming platforms," said Chitrita Chatterjee, associate vice president at IAMAI. She said that the first tier in self-regulation allows consumers to reach out to the video streaming platform to make a complaint. However, if they are not satisfied, they could reach out to DCCCC. “But this mechanism should not be seen as censorship because it is not. However, platforms must run scrolls in their programmes to create awareness about DCCCC," Chatterjee said, adding, “We are hoping for other players to sign up soon," Chatterjee said.

Early last year, nine video streaming players including Hotstar, Voot, ZEE5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Reliance Jio, Netflix and Eros Now had signed up to adopt a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of the IAMAI. The code prohibited content around child pornography, acts of terrorism and disrespect to national symbols. It asked platforms owners to categorise content and classify the same for audiences of different ages. It also required that platforms display a content descriptor or guidance message that indicates and informs the viewer about nature of the content, particularly around age-inappropriate content for minors. Lastly, it asked to institute a grievance redressal mechanism whereby signatories agreed to internally appoint or institute, as part of their operational systems, a dedicated person, team or department to receive and address any consumer-related concerns and complaints in relation to the content they were showcasing.

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