The Hindu Important News Editorial and Analysis 13 February 2021

1) Regulation lite: On self-regulation code for OTT channels

Self-regulation code for OTT channels must be given a chance to work to foster creativity.

GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

GS-3: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.


Context:

  1. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting prepared set of guidelines and directives code for the Internet-based industry also called Internet-based Over-The-Top (OTT) service code.
  2. India’s Internet-based Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services have code of self-regulation (from February 10) because inexorable growth of OTT channels has infused creative talent into film-making, and media channel.

 

What are the Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services?

  1. An over-the-top (OTT) is streaming media platform online service offered directly to viewers through Internet. OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms, the companies that traditionally act as a controller or distributor of such content.
  2. It has also been used to describe no-carrier cell phones, where all communications are charged as data, avoiding monopolistic competition, or apps for phones that transmit data in this manner, including both those that replace other call methods and those that update software.
  3. Over-the-top (OTT) is platform where Individuals who watch video via any app or website that provides streaming video content and bypasses traditional distribution. Examples include HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube/YouTube Red and SlingTV etc.

 

The urgency of this self-regulation Internet-based OTT code:

  1. There is definitely a need for a level playing field for all media. To avoid a policed approach to films and media may only grow a monoculture of propaganda.
  2. The absence of overbearing regulation, censors and vested interests, although it might be argued that it also has a small minority pursuing crass commercialism.
  3.  The COVID-19 buoyed subscription revenues from home-bound viewers for OTT ventures streaming films, reality shows, serials and documentaries, and with cinemas closed, even broke the industry taboo against online-first film releases.
  4.  The urgency of this code arises not from any challenge to law and order or morality posed by films, but the gauntlet of police and court cases that film-makers and the channels now have to run.
  5. The Governments are also lending tacit support to the view that creative expression may be becoming too influential to be left free under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution.
  6. The FIRs in U.P. against the Amazon Prime Video series, Tandav, invoking legal provisions on cyber terrorism, obscenity, promoting social enmity and defiling places of worship, on the ground that its portrayal of god was derogatory,
  7. The plea in M.P. on the same series seeking a court direction to bring OTT channels under censorship laws indicates the growing oppressive environment.

 

 

The collective initiative for Self regulation:

  1. The collective initiative of the OTT services under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India consisted voluntary code under different laws.
  2. The Self regulation emphasis on abiding by the IPC, laws on women’s and children’s rights, copyright and age-appropriate certification and parental control,
  3. Also upholding Constitutional provisions on free speech should be given an opportunity to work and value of Constitutional provisions.

 

The Internet and Mobile Association of India:

  1. IAMAI is a not-for-profit industry body registered under “Societies Act, 1896”. Its mandate is to expand and enhance the online and mobile value added services sectors in India.
  2. IAMAI also put forward the problems and requirements of the businesses to the shareholders, investors, consumers, and the government of India.
  3. The main aims of the Internet and Mobile Association of India is to improve and expand the value added services pertaining to mobiles and several online services.

 

The recommendations of Shyam Benegal Committee:

  1. The Expert Committee on film certification chaired by Shyam Benegal in 2016 recommendations of the I&B Ministry’s.
  2. The panel recommendations to creative expression and full ownership of any visual production, leaving viewing decisions to audiences, more accurately classifying films by viewer age,
  3. An ensuring transparency in the way reviewing bodies are constituted, the films must be pre-censored and arbitrary cuts made by government-appointed nominees, mostly out of prejudice, is antiquated and repugnant to liberal societies.
  4. The plethora of laws are available to assess, based on complaints, whether there has been an egregious violation of law, and this determination ought to be made by unimpeachable bodies representing a wide spectrum of civil society.

 

The Self regulation emphasis on abiding “Laws”:

  1. The Indian Penal Code, Section 293 (to punish anybody violate Copyright), IPC Section 295 A (outraging religious sentiments), IPC Section 499 (such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person) and Section 354 (Any act of publishing defamatory who insults any woman’s modesty).
  2. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prevention) Act, 1986 acts, the complete prohibition of indecent representation of women in advertisements, books, movies, painting etc.
  3. The POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, The offence to sell and distribute child pornography.
  4. Sections 67A, 67B, 67C and 69 A of “the Information Technology Act, 2000 “provides penalty or imprisonment to published any kind of obscene material: like sexual content.
  5. To violate the Freedom of Speech but right under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution who authorizes the government to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions upon the freedom of speech and expression.

 

Conclusion:

  1. There is definitely a need for a level playing field for all media. But that doesn’t mean we will bring everybody under a heavy regulatory structure.
  2. The Government has been focused on ease of doing business and less regulation, but more effective regulation. It is time the Centre took a firm stand against displays of manufactured outrage and let newer channels of creativity flourish.
  3. The “Unacceptable, Viewers and creators have to band together and challenge censorship in any and every manner” on OTT platform.

 

2) Climate change resilience actions, in step with India.

A well-equipped Australia is working with major economies to transfer technologies supporting lower global emissions.

GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment and Disaster and disaster management.


Context:

  1. The Climate change is an increasingly pressing global issue, which will require our collective will to ensure a sustainable future for our countries and for the world.
  2. The virtual Climate Adaptation Summit hosted by the Netherlands (on January 25-26 ) and , Australia reaffirmed own commitment to ambitious and practical action to combat the impacts of climate change at home, in our region, and around the world.
  3. By working together, we can reduce emissions which will remain critical to ensuring global average temperatures stay well below 2° Centigrade and adapt and build resilience to the climate change already occurring.

 

Global Commission on Adaptation (GCA) Climate Adaptation Summit:

  1. The Netherlands will host with aim to help accelerate adaptation around the world; improve human well-being and result in more sustainable economic development and security;
  2. Global Call for Leadership on Climate Resilience,’ released in September 2019, and the Climate Action Summit’s action tracks, including food security, infrastructure, finance, urban resilience and nature-based solutions, with tangible and actionable targets;

 

Opportunity at summit:

  1. The valuable opportunity to the international community for collective action to realise a more climate-resilient future.
  2. To help accelerate adaptation around the world; improve human well-being and result in more sustainable economic development and security; and   present its findings at the Climate Adaption Summit.
  3. At the summit, Australia reaffirmed our commitment to ambitious and practical action to combat the impacts of climate change at home, in our region, and around the world.

 

The Impotence of Australia commitment:

  1. Australia is one of the driest inhabited continents in the world and oldest living cultures and some of the richest biodiversity in the world.
  2. World  fortunate to learn For over 65,000 years their traditional knowledge and practices have preserved and protected Australia’s natural environment.
  3. The recent bushfires demonstrated the importance of bringing together traditional Indigenous knowledge about the land with modern science.
  4. The World may learns from Australia , To preserving and protecting Australia’s natural and cultural heritage. Like using traditional fire management practices, through cool and controlled burns.

 

The Australia committed to Ensuring resilience:

  1. Australia has committed over ?1,500 crore to making our natural resources, environment and water infrastructure more resilient to drought and climate disasters.
  2.  World are spending more than ?200 crore on bushfire recovery efforts, supporting local communities to design their own economic, social and environmental recovery.  The important job of regenerating habitats, helping native animals recover and building knowledge for better land management.
  3.  By July 2021, Australia will establish a new National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency to drive the reduction of natural disaster risk, enhance natural disaster resilience and ensure effective relief and recovery to all hazards.
  4. While our adaptation and resilience work starts at home, Australia is also committed to supporting neighbouring and global communities tackle climate change.
  5. Australia has pledged at least ?150 crore over the period 2020 to 2025 for global climate finance; ?50 crore of this funding will directly help our Pacific neighbours deploy renewable energy, and improve their climate change and disaster resilience.

 

Working with India:

  1. Australia’s strong support for the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, spearheaded by India’s is another example of how we are working together with partners  like to help ensure our infrastructure is resilient and adapts to the effects of a changing climate.
  2. India ongoing engagement with the International Solar Alliance a global initiative designed to harness solar power to provide for the energy needs of members of the alliance.
  3. Australia’s work with India on Water Resources Management is another important initiative initiated by India and designed to further enhance each country’s water management capabilities and share expertise and best practice.

 

Green technologies are Focused areas:

  1. To support resilience and adaption efforts, Australia is also investing in and developing the green technologies of tomorrow. Australia is aiming to leverage ?7,000 crore of new investment in low emissions technologies by 2030.
  2. To get there, we recently released our Technology Investment Roadmap — a comprehensive plan to invest in the technologies we need to bring emissions down, here and around the world.
  3. We are focussed on accelerating technologies like hydrogen, carbon capture use and storage, soil carbon, energy storage to backup renewables and decarbonise transport, and low or zero emissions steel and aluminium.
  4. The Australia-India Joint Energy Dialogue will strengthen cooperation between our two countries in pumped hydro storage, cost-effective battery technologies, hydrogen and coal gasification, adoption of clean energy technology, fly ash management technologies, and solar forecasting and scheduling.

 

Partnerships are the key to Success:

  1. The COVID-19 pandemic, or tackling the ongoing challenge posed by climate change, we need to embrace innovation and strengthen global partnerships.
  2.  World need to consider those most in need, engage all stakeholders equally and respect indigenous culture and knowledge in taking climate action.

 

Way forward:

  1. World are sharing our climate adaptation expertise, experiences and skills with the world through our development programme and the India- Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.
  2. Widespread global deployment of those technologies will reduce emissions or eliminate them in sectors responsible for 90% of the world’s emissions 4,500 crore tonnes.
  3. The goal is to get the cost of deploying these new technologies to parity with existing, higher-emitting alternatives. This is a practical pathway to achieve net zero emissions that also presents economic opportunity.
  4. The most ambitious global emissions reductions, we will still need to adapt to changes in our climate over the coming decades. Practical actions that help us adapt to those changes and strengthen the resilience of our local environments are critical.