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As IBF looks to include OTT players, IAMAI gears to set up self-regulatory body for OTT

The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), the apex body of broadcasters, is being renamed as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), as it expands its purview to cover digital platforms to bring all digital (OTT) players under one roof. IBDF is in the process of forming a new wholly-owned subsidiary to handle all matters pertaining to digital media.

IBDF will also form a Self-Regulatory Body (SRB), as per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, as notified by the Government of India on February 25, 2021.

This industry-led SRB, called Digital Media Content Regulatory Council (DMCRC) for digital OTT platforms, which is a second-tier mechanism at the appellate level, is similar to Broadcast Content Complaint Council (BCCC), which IBF had successfully implemented for the linear broadcasting sector way back in 2011.

Speaking on the development, K Madhavan, President, IBF, said, “We are pleased to extend our commitment of fostering an environment that is culturally adept, socially responsible and governance-bound to the fast-growing digital medium. The diversification will empower the Foundation to pursue growth opportunities for its members who run OTT services in the country, while ensuring they present a strong collective voice, both in the broadcast and digital sector under the combined body. We will continue to work arduously to create new benchmarks in line with the industry’s growth aspirations.”

Over the years, IBF has played a key role in providing research-based policy and regulatory advocacy to the government to build a strong broadcasting sector which is the backbone of the Indian M&E sector. Today, with the emergence of new digital technical technologies, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) is not only going to rechristen itself as Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), but will continue to proactively engage all the relevant stakeholders to introduce policy and regulatory certainties and strengthen self-regulatory mechanisms to help the Indian creative industry to produce world-class content which has received an overwhelming response from the global audience.

Meanwhile, it may be recalled that last year, IAMAI agreed to a Universal Self-Regulatory code with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which has been adopted by 17 of the leading online curated content platforms in the country. The IAMAI had, on February 11, 2020, announced the adoption of a “toolkit” for implementing its Universal Self-Regulation Code for OTT platforms.

The 17 OTT players who are signatories to this Universal Code, include ZEE5, Viacom18 (Voot), Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, SonyLiv, MX Player, Jio Cinema, Eros Now, ALTBalaji, Arre, HoiChoi, Hungama, Shemaroo, Discovery Plus, Aha and Lionsgate Play.

Bhanupreet Saini, Head of Public Policy at IAMAI, told Adgully, “IAMAI as an industry association is working towards setting up and operationalising a self-regulatory body for the OTT streaming platforms to address grievances as part of the Level II structure as mandated by IT Rules 2021. The unprecedented pandemic situation in the country has impacted our transition to the new regulatory regime, particularly the process to onboard senior experts for the Grievance Redressal Board.”

Meanwhile, sources in Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have confirmed to Adgully that they will continue to be associated with IAMAI.

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