Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) boss Mohan Bhagwat criticized the use of bitcoins and the lack of regulation of content on OTT (over-the-top) platforms on Friday, bringing the controversial issue of the multi-million dollar streaming business to the fore in India .
“After the outbreak of the pandemic, almost every child has a cell phone and what they see on their cell phone is not checked,” the head of the parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party told a group of Swayamsevaks in Nagpur on Vijayadashami.
His comments are against the backdrop of the centre’s ongoing efforts to regulate OTT players, social media platforms and digital content providers in the country.
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On February 25, the IT department notified the government of the “Intermediary Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media” to encourage large technology companies to put in place a faster and more efficient complaint resolution mechanism and also to increase government control over them.
In addition to various provisions, the Code of Ethics requires OTT platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and Disney + Hotstar to make their content safer for children by classifying it into one of the five age-related categories and providing a parental control mechanism in their services.
Content with nudity and altered images of women must be removed within 24 hours.
Companies are required to put in place a three tier redress framework, including an India-based complaints officer who must resolve all complaints within 15 days.
Certain provisions of the Code of Ethics have since been challenged in courts in Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Madras, Calcutta and Bombay. Recently, the Supreme Courts of Madras and Bombay suspended certain provisions.
OTT is a highly competitive market in India, PwC estimates it will be a $ 2.9 billion market by 2024.
With its 1.3 billion inhabitants, the country is also an important market for the US giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney. There are already more than 40 OTT apps in India, although newer regional players come into play every few months.
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With only 353 million OTT users in the state users so far, according to a report by Ormax Media, the state offers these players enormous growth potential, especially since smartphones are penetrating ever deeper into smaller towns and villages.
Regarding bitcoins, Bhagwat said there is no clarity as to which country or which regulations control a currency like bitcoin. He added that the Indian government needs to control these things and do something for the good of society.
This is significant as a recent report from broker comparison platform BrokerChooser highlighted the fact that India has the maximum number of cryptocurrency owners with over $ 10 billion.
However, in terms of the percentage of the population who owns cryptocurrencies, India ranks fifth at 7.30 percent. Ukraine leads the field with 12.73 percent, followed by Russia, Kenya and the USA.
Also read: New Code of Ethics for OTT, Digital Media; All you need to know
Meanwhile, the Indian government has regularly hoisted Fed flags over cryptocurrencies in general and Bitcoin in particular.
Earlier this week there were reports that cryptocurrency exchanges began blocking certain suspicious accounts after the government said digital currencies were being used for money laundering.
The huge rise in the price of Bitcoin gas has also attracted many investors to the cryptocurrency. In the current calendar year, prices have increased by almost 24 percent to almost USD 59,600 per Bitcoin. In addition, Bitcoin prices have increased fivefold in the past year.
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