Grievance Redressal Must For OTT, Online Channels

The new guidelines issued by the government of India on Thursday mandated a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country.

Briefing the media about the development, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that though the government welcomes criticism and the right to dissent, “but it is very important for the users of social media to have a forum to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media.”

He said that concerns have been raised over the years about rampant abuse of social media, and the Ministry has held widespread consultations and prepared a draft in December 2018.

“There’ll be two categories, intermediary which can be social media intermediary and significant social media intermediary. They will have to have a grievance redressal mechanism, you will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and disposal in 15 days,” he said.

“If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – they will be required to remove that within 24 hrs after a complaint is made. This is designed to respect the dignity of women,” he added.

Prasad said that significant social media has to do three things, “First, they will have to have a chief compliance officer residing in India responsible for ensuring compliance of the act and the rules. Second is a nodal contact person who should reside in India for 24X7 coordination with law enforcement agencies. Also, they have to appoint a resident grievance officer who shall perform the grievance redressal mechanism as indicated. They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal,” he stated.

Talking about OTT platforms, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government has decided to have a three-stair mechanism for OTT platforms.

“OTT and digital news media will have to disclose their details. We are not mandating registration, we are seeking information. There should be a grievance redressal system in OTT platforms and digital portals. OTT platforms will have to have a self-regulating body, headed by retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or very eminent person in this category,” he said.

Content on OTT platforms has recently fuelled controversy, leading to public outcry and the booking of makers of some programmes.

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar on January 31 announced that the Ministry will soon release guidelines on OTT platforms as it had been receiving a lot of complaints against some serials available here. (ANI)

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