Prasar Bharati, India’s public service broadcaster, said over-the-top (OTT) service providers carrying live TV channels should mandatorily carry all the Doordarshan channels and the ones offering news should be registered with the ministry of information and broadcasting.
Prasar Bharati’s comments were in response to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) consultation paper on the regulatory framework for OTT service providers.
It said that while broadcasters are bound by various regulatory and licensing norms, OTT service providers that offer live streaming and news through the internet do not have any “responsibility, liability or accountability.”
“The OTT providers offering broadcast services through internet, such as live, delayed or on-demand streaming of audio or video content, should also comply to some basic regulatory and legal conditions, which may be a subset of the overall conditions applicable on broadcasters, which needs to be addressed,” it said.
JioTV, Hotstar, Zee5 and SonyLiv did not reply to an email seeking comment. They show live television and some news content. Feedback on the Trai paper is to be submitted by January 21.
If the proposal is accepted, Doordarshan will gain access to a large digital video user base without any customer acquisition costs, said Girish Menon, partner and head, media and entertainment, KPMG in India. “OTT platforms would add another content category to their libraries, the viewership of which would depend upon the eventual quality of content,” he said.
All distribution platforms such as direct-to-home, multi-system operators and cable operators are currently required to carry all Doordarshan channels.
“Various OTT players are now providing news. This is not regulated. There have been lots of incidents of fake news and mischievous reporting. This needs to be checked, and such news channels over OTT, should be registered with Ministry of I&B,” Prasar Bharti stated. “Certain broadcasts could also be against national security.”
Online video platforms including Netflix, Hotstar and Jio have agreed to adopt a self-censorship code that imposes controls on content and establishes a compliant mechanism. The ministry of information and broadcasting has supported the idea of self-regulation. “While the consultation paper is specifically focusing on telecom services, it is suggested that concerns of broadcasters should also be taken into view and the recommendations may be framed accordingly,” it said.