29 June, 2020
5 Min Read
GS- PAPER-2 Digital India MAINS-IV
The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted every single industry, but the businesses that were most affected are those which solely rely on the social gatherings of people and the media and entertainment industry is not an exception.
However, Over the Top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Prime Video and online gaming are booming in this time of crisis, thereby testifying to the ongoing information revolution.
Though the Indian media landscape has traditionally been very dynamic, the issue of content regulation has always been important in India because of the diverse nature of Indian society in terms of religion, economic status, caste and language. Therefore, the effect that OTT has on society forms the basis of its regulation by the state.
Thus, there is a need to understand both the benefits and challenges associated with the use of Over the Top Platform (OTT) in India.
Benefits Associated with OTT Platforms
Lack of Regulation: While traditional media in India are regulated under specific laws such as Films are regulated under the Cinematograph Act of 1952—which provides for the certification of cinematograph films for public exhibition.
The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 —that applies to content appearing on cable televisions. However, there is no such specific law for regulation of content over OTT platforms.
Censorship Problem: Generally, the Government in India censors the content on grounds of public morality, communal harmony or cultural preservation, among various reasons. However, due to the lack of censorship, content on OTT platforms can disrupt the social harmony and the moral fabric of society.
No Consensus of Self Regulation: OTT platforms had signed a self-regulation code under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India. However, there’s no consensus on the code amongst the various OTT platforms operating in India.
Cultural Homogenisation: India is projected to become the second largest online video-viewing audience by 2020. In this context, OTT platforms are streaming a lot of cross-cultural content. Though it is good for creating a cosmopolitan world, it has aggravated some of the means in the society like cultural imperialism.
While the government recognizes the need for self-regulation in OTT, it wants video streaming platforms to agree to a common code.
Besides, there is a need to include online content explicitly within the ambit of this common code which will prohibit indecency in video streaming, advertisements, books, films, paintings, writings etc.
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