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Internet and Mobile Association of India sets up grievance council to ensure OTT guideline compliance

On Friday, industry association IAMAI said it is setting up the Digital Publishers Content Grievances Council (DPCGC), which will help address unresolved consumer grievances and ensure compliance with the latest guidelines for OTT players.

On 25 February, the government announced rules for Over-The-Top (OTT) and digital media, which mandated that a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism be put in place.

The government, at that time, had said the guidelines have been framed keeping in mind the difference between viewership in a theatre and television as compared to watching it on the internet.

“In light of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, IAMAI is establishing the DPCGC as the Level-II Self-Regulatory Body for publishers of Online Curated Content (OCC) as required under Rule 12, with the intent to empower consumers to make informed viewing choices,” IAMAI said in a statement.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has notified the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that they are in the process of forming the grievances council, it added.

The industry body said 10 digital publishers have confirmed that they will be members of the council and the list has been shared with the government.

These include Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Lionsgate Play, MX Player, Hungama Shemaroo, Alt Balaji, Arha Media, Firework and Hoichoi.

The industry body is awaiting confirmation from several other such digital publishers, it noted.

“IAMAI and members of the DPCGC are deeply committed to protecting consumer rights and empowering consumers with the right tools to make informed decisions, as well as have their grievances addressed. The formation of this body is an important step towards consumer choice, as more and more people are viewing content online,” IAMAI President Subho Ray said.

Explaining the structure, the industry body said DPCGC will have an OCCP (Online Curated Content Publishers) Council that will have publishers of online curated content as members.

There will be an independent Grievance Redressal Board (GRB) that will include a chairperson and six members. It will be chaired by a retired Supreme Court/High Court judge and the members would comprise eminent persons from the media and entertainment industry, experts from various fields, including child rights, minority rights, and media law.

GRB”s role will be to oversee and ensure the alignment and adherence to the Code of Ethics by the OCCP Council members, provide guidance to entities on Code of Ethics, address grievances that have not been resolved by the publisher within 15 days and hear grievances/appeals filed by the complainant(s).

Under the new rules, OTT platforms have to self-classify the content into five age-based categories – U (Universal), U/A 7+ (years), U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult). In the past, many of these platforms have drawn flak for content that contains obscenity, and have at times hurt religious sentiments.

These platforms are required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age-verification mechanisms for content classified as ”A”. The publishers of online curated content will also have to prominently display the classification rating specific to a programme together with a content description, he added. Firstpost

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