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IAMAI’s regulatory code for OTT platforms outlining principles and seeking a creation of grievance redressal; will it lead to self-censorship?

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With the aim to provide a regulatory code for video streaming platforms, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has released a document called "Code of best practices for online curated content providers." OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji and Eros Now have signed the code, while Amazon Prime, TVF Play, Yupp TV, Hungama Play were missing from the list of signatories. See the code here: [embeddoc url="https://www.medianama.com/wp-content/uploads/Consolidated-Draft-14012019.pdf" download="all"] The document aims to provide a "guiding principle for Online Curated Content Providers", and  outlines the kind of content that should be prohibited on video streaming platforms. It also calls for the setting up of a grievance redressal mechanism to ensure compliance of the code, and address complaints by the consumers. This should be seen in the backdrop of a discussion by the Observer Research Foundation held in September last year, when some of the participating Video-on-Demand companies held that they should create a self-regulatory code for content before the government does. The principles are broadly in line with the issues highlighted during the ORF discussion. Prohibition of content The code puts a responsibility on the signatories of this code against putting certain kind of content on their platforms. The principles are as follows: Content which disrespects the national emblem or national flag What it means: The code does not define what "disrespect" means. For example, in 2007, there was a controversy when Mandira Bedi, hosting the World Cup cricket on a TV channel appeared…

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