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Seventeen of India’s largest streaming services on Thursday launched a self-regulation toolkit, under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), pre-empting government plans to bring out a code for all over-the-top (OTT) services.

The streaming services said the Implementation Toolkit, a code, is a step forward from the Universal Self-Regulation Code IAMAI had launched in September that was rejected by the government.

The signatories were ZEE5, Viacom 18 (VOOT), Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, SonyLIV, MX Player, Jio Cinema, Eros Now, ALTBalaji, Arre, Hoichoi, Hungama, Shemaroo, Discovery Plus, Aha, and Lionsgate Play.

The core purpose of the toolkit, IAMAI said, is to lay down procedures to bring into effect various provisions of the code. It also aims to address the views of the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry on conflict of interest and prohibited content.

Earlier this week, I&B minister Prakash Javadekar told Parliament guidelines and directives for OTT platforms are almost ready and will be implemented soon. The ministry had formally taken OTT under its wing in November. The government clamour for a code comes in the wake of makers of shows like Tandav and Mirzapur 2 being slapped with FIRs and government summons.

After prodding from the government, 15 OTT platforms had come together under IAMAI in September to sign a code of self-regulation, formulating a framework for age classification, appropriate content description, and access control. The ministry, however, rejected the code and asked IAMAI to look at a two-tier complaints mechanisms that would allow for an independent monitoring organisation, just as general entertainment channels are monitored by the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council.

The I&B ministry did not immediately respond to Mint’s query on the revised code by the OTT firms.



As per provisions of new code the signatories have agreed to put together a grievance redressal system that will prescribe timelines for grievance redressal and the composition of the grievance redressal bodies.

IAMAI has also said it will constitute an ‘IAMAI Secretariat for the Code’ comprising representatives of the signatories and the body itself which will administer the implementation of the Code and the Toolkit. The Secretariat shall develop a process to seek periodic updates from the signatories regarding their progress with respect to compliance with provisions, provide a list of online content specific applicable laws, and keep them informed about any legislative or judicial developments with respect to the same.

“The adoption of the ‘Implementation Toolkit’ strengthens our commitment to augment consumer empowerment and creative excellence for the Indian entertainment industry to grow multifold. This Tool Kit amplifies all the critical points that were addressed in the Code signed last year and aims to address feedback received from the ministry particularly on strengthening the grievance redressal mechanism," Amit Goenka, chair, digital entertainment committee, IAMAI said in a statement.

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