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How Many Grievances Were Logged By Online Streaming Platforms Under IT Rules, 2021 in October 2023?

Among major streaming platforms, Amazon Prime recorded the most number of grievances: 261.

Amazon Prime received a total of 261 grievances in October 2023 out of which it managed to dispose of 248, according to the disclosure published by the company under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Of all the grievances Amazon Prime received, only 6 were related to the Code of Ethics detailed under the IT Rules, 2021. It agreed to two of these complaints and took action on them. The company also received one order from the Central Government and says that compliance with the order is currently in progress.

This makes Amazon Prime the platform receiving the highest number of grievances among the three major streaming services— Netflix, Disney+Hostar, and itself. By comparison, Netflix received 45 and Disney+Hotstar received only 1 grievance this month.

Besides the grievances received this month, Amazon Prime also had 19 grievances pending from September which were disposed of this month.

What does the code of ethics say?

  • Those publishing online curated content will not exhibit content that is prohibited under any law or prohibited by any court of competent jurisdiction.
  • Publishers shall exercise due caution and discretion when deciding to feature content that affects the sovereignty and integrity of India, threatens the security of the state, is detrimental to India’s friendly relations with foreign countries and is likely to incite violence or disturb the maintenance of public order.
  • Publishers shall exercise due caution when featuring the activities, beliefs, practices, or views of any racial or religious group.
  • Shall classify content for various age groups. The classification of content shall be based on themes and messages, violence, nudity, sex, language, drug and substance abuse, and horror. The classification shall be prominently displayed with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of a programme before watching it.
  • Publishers must have access control mechanisms including parental locks for content classified as 13+ or higher.
  • Publishers must implement a reliable age verification mechanism for content that is classified as adult.
  • Promotional material for a piece of content must display the classification associated with the piece of content.
  • Publishers must take reasonable efforts to improve the accessibility of their content to persons with disabilities.

Why it matters:

These grievance redressal reports reveal whether the redressal mechanism created under the IT rules,2021 can address user complaints effectively and on time. This becomes particularly important to note given that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has proposed to bring streaming services under a new bill— The Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill — introducing a new grievance redressal mechanism for them and two new codes, a Programme Code and an Advertising Code that they will have to comply with.

What about other platforms?

Netflix: Of the 45 grievances that Netflix received 10 were related to the code of ethics. Of these 10, the company agreed and took action on only one complaint. Besides fresh grievances, the company had 17 complaints due from September. It disposed of the grievances from September and 23 grievances received during October. At the end of the month, the company had 22 grievances pending.

Disney+Hotstar: The one grievance that the company received is pending disposal.

JioCinema: It received 83 grievances in October, of which none were disposed of. None of the grievances it received were related to the code of ethics.

SonyLiv: It received 50 grievances this month, all of which were disposed of. None of the grievances were related to the code of ethics.

Amazon Mini TV: It received 5 grievances this month and disposed of 4. None of the grievances were related to the code of ethics.

Note: As of writing this story, Zee 5 has not updated its website with the grievances it received in October. Viacom18 (Voot’s parent company) does not disclose the details of its grievance redressal report and we were unable to access AltBalaji’s grievance redressal report.

What does the grievance redressal data tell us?

Of the streaming services mentioned above, only JioCinema and Disney+Hotstar did not address the grievances that they received this month. This tells that for the most part, companies have been compliant with the grievance redressal mechanism created under IT Rules, 2021.

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