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Will self-regulation by streaming platforms help curb harmful content? #NAMA

Experts discussed the responsibilities of both the government and streaming platforms in controlling illegal content through self-regulation.

Will nudging streaming services to self-regulate content help in curbing issues of nudity or abuse online? This was one of the questions that popped up on February 24, 2023, during MediaNama’s discussion on the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) convergence consultation. Speakers were discussing the converged regulation of broadcast, television, telecom and streaming. Addressing the question, discussant Abhishek Malhotra, a lawyer at TMT Law, said that clamping down on “illegal content” is the responsibility of the government. As such, even in the context of self-regulation, the real test lies in Article 19(2) regarding reasonable restrictions on free speech. “The government is using the platform of an OTT provider or a social media intermediary to take action against content owners by way of self-regulation,” said Malhotra. He argued that the question of manageability in this case has nothing to do with self-regulation. Rather, the state is giving a little bit of freedom to individuals and entities to decide what should be regulated and what should not be with the basic norms in place. Does self-regulation even exist? Another speaker pointed out that nowadays when self-regulatory norms of platforms are defined, liability is attached to not following the norms imposed by the government. This means there is no such thing as self-regulation but simply regulation that is applied to intermediaries and—to some extent in the near future—to streaming services as well, argued the speaker. He gave the example of the previous version of the IT Act where, under section 79, any individual could…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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