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DMCRC dismisses its first appeal

The Digital Media Content Regulatory Council (DMCRC), the level-II self-regulatory mechanism set up by the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), to address complaints against content aired on streaming platforms, held its inaugural meeting on 6 July 2021 and passed its first order with regard to a trailer of an original series on Disney+ Hotstar titled Grahan.

According to the appeal, the plot of the show evident from the trailer, was aimed at setting a false narrative of the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide and that the makers have attempted to show that a turbaned/Sikh man had been involved in looting and arson, making for a deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community. The Council however noted that the trailer categorically states that the series is a work of fiction besides the fact that it is unreasonable to judge a long series only on the basis of the trailer.

“The Council unanimously found that no community has been portrayed in a denigrating manner or in a bad light in the trailer. It is of the view that any artistic or creative work has to be viewed holistically to determine whether it is objectionable or offensive,” a statement from DMCRC said. The DMCRC is chaired by Justice (retired) Vikramajit Sen.

The Council members include filmmakers Nikkhil Advani, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Tigmanshu Dhulia and Deepak Dhar, CEO and founder, Banijay Group. The other two members from the streaming platforms or online curated content providers (OCCPs) include Ashok Nambisan, general counsel, Sony Pictures Pvt. Ltd, and Mihir Rale, chief regional counsel, Star and Disney India.

The self-regulatory body has been formed as per the mandate of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 brought out by the government this February. This industry-led Self-Regulatory Body (SRB) for digital OTT platforms is a second-tier mechanism at the appellate level, similar to Broadcast Content Complaint Council (BCCC). Live Mint

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