Objectionable content must be removed within 24 hours
Patriots and devout Hindus have been demanding regulations for ‘Over the top platforms’ from the government. The government seems to have finally complied. The government should frame and implement such stringent rules at the earliest so that no one will dare to denigrate India and Hinduism on social media and OTT platforms.
New Delhi: Government of India today eleased guidelines for regulating social media and OTT platforms in the country, regarding denigration of Hinduism, deities, national heroes etc. These were strongly demanded by patriots and devout Hindus, and ultimately the government has paid heed. Addressing a press conference, Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Prakash Javadekar said that the new rules have been announced by the Centre.
The rules will apply to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp as well as OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar etc. While announcing the framework, it was said that expanded guidelines will be issued soon and these new rules will be implemented within three months.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the government has received several complaints about morphed pictures being posted on social media, rampant abuse of social media platforms and spread of fake news by antisocial elements. That’s why the government framed the draft regulations to monitor social media content.
The Union Ministers said that “double standards of social media are not acceptable.”
Rules for social media:
- Social media giants will be required to appoint India-based compliance officers. If they remove content, they will be required to inform users, give reasons for taking down their post and hear them out.
- Social media sites have to disclose “first originator” of any mischievous message or tweet regarding the sovereignty, security and integrity of India, international relations, public order, rape and sexually explicit images.
- The rules also bar social media content that is defamatory, obscene, vilifying, racist and harmful to minors. Social media sites have to remove or disable offensive or illegal content within 24 hours of being notified.
- Companies have to appoint a grievance officer to receive, acknowledge and resolve complaints within a month.
- Digital news media will follow rules under the Press Council of India. New websites will have to be registered on the Information and Broadcasting Ministry site.
- Social media intermediaries to publish a monthly report detailing number of complaints received, action taken and number of complaints disposed off with.
Rules for OTT platforms:
- Age based self-classification for content on streaming services that is 13-plus, 16-plus or adults. A mechanism to be implemented to ensure children do not access content not approved for them.
- Such platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher.
- The oversight mechanism will include an inter-departmental committee with representatives from the ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home, I&B, Law, IT and Women and Child Development.
- It will have “suo motu powers” to call hearings on complaints of violation of the Code of Ethics if it wants.
- The government will designate an officer of the rank of a Joint Secretary or above as the “Authorised Officer” who can direct blocking of content. If an appellate body believes that the content violates the law, it is empowered to send the content to a government-controlled committee for blocking orders to be issued.
OTT platforms will have to have a self-regulating body, headed by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or very eminent person in this category.