Maintaining the quality of OTT content is the goal of the Digital Media Ethics Code: Vikram Sahay

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting said at the Interactive Session organized by IIMC

New Delhi : “The common citizen is the centre of Digital Media Ethics Code 2021. The objective of the Ethics Code is to maintain the quality of content posted on OTT platforms while preserving the Freedom of Expression, said Shri Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting during a special lecture organized by Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) on the topic ‘Digital Media Ethics Code 2021’. The Director General of the IIMC Prof. Sanjay Dwivedi, Additional Director General K. Satish Nambudiripad, Vice Chancellor of Kushabhau Thackeray Journalism and Mass Communication University, Raipur Prof. Baldev Bhai Sharma and Dean (Academics), IIMC Prof. Govind Singh were also present.

Shri Vikram Sahay said, “The role of digital media has grown tremendously over the years. Internet data usage has increased by 43 times in six years. India is the fastest growing OTT market in the world. This market is expected to reach 2.9 billion by the year 2024 with an annual growth rate of 28.6%. He said that concerns about content broadcast on the OTT platform have been received for some time, due to which the Digital Media Ethics Code has been formulated.”

Shri Sahay said that in India, people below 35 years of age prefer to read news online. People are spending 41% more time on these news websites in the last few years. Shri Sahai said that there are content regulators like Press Council of India for newspapers and Cable TV Networks Act, 1995 for TV news, but there is no such regulation for news on digital platforms. Same is the case with OTT.

The Joint Secretary clarified that the purpose of the Digital Media Ethics Code is to prevent the transmission of content that is objectionable to women and harmful to children. For this, news publishers, OTT platforms and programme broadcasters will have to appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer and display information about these complaints. Apart from this, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will constitute an inter-ministerial committee, which will deal with unresolved complaints by news publishers or regulatory bodies.

According to Shri Sahay, so far about 1800 news publishers have provided information about themselves to the Ministry. The Ministry is not registering any news portal or OTT platform, but the purpose of gathering information about them is that they can be contacted if there is any complaint about the content. He said that the purpose of the Ethics Code is to make the news publishers and OTT platforms aware about the rules, by which the unity, integrity and harmony of the country can be maintained.

The interaction was moderated by Prof. Sangeeta Pranvendra and the vote of thanks was proposed by the HoD of Outreach Department, Prof. Pramod Kumar. Media Educators, journalists and intellectuals from various universities and academic institutions of the country, along with professors, officers and employees of all regional centers of Indian Institute of Mass Communication participated in this Interactive Session.

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