Union Minister Prakash Javadekar addressing a press conference on Thursday.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar addressing a press conference on Thursday.

New guidelines for digital media, OTT to self-classify content into 5 age based categories

ANI | Updated: Feb 25, 2021 16:22 IST

New Delhi [India], February 25 (ANI): There should self-classification of content for Over The Top (OTT) platforms, said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday while unveiling the new policies for digital media.

"For OTT, there should be self-classification of content -- 13+, 16+ and A categories. There has to be a mechanism of parental lock and ensuring compliance that children don't see that," Javadekar said during a press conference.

The OTT platforms, called as the publishers of online curated content in the rules, would self-classify the content into five age-based categories- U (Universal), U/A 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).

As per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, platforms would be required to implement parental locks for content classified as U/A 13+ or higher, and reliable age verification mechanisms for content classified as "A".

The publisher of online curated content shall prominently display the classification rating specific to each content or programme together with a content descriptor informing the user about the nature of the content, and advising on viewer description (if applicable) at the beginning of every programme enabling the user to make an informed decision, prior to watching the programme, read the guidelines.
The Rules seek to empower the users by mandating the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.
Intermediaries shall appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such officer. Grievance Officer shall acknowledge the complaint within twenty-four hours and resolve it within fifteen days from its receipt.
To ensure online safety and dignity of users, especially women users, intermediaries shall remove or disable access within 24 hours of receipt of complaints of contents that exposes the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images.
Such a complaint can be filed either by the individual or by any other person on his or her behalf.
According to the guidelines, users who wish to verify their accounts voluntarily shall be provided an appropriate mechanism to do so and provided with a demonstrable and visible mark of verification. (ANI)