CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu People's Forum for Tobacco Control (TNPFTC) along with other prominent stakeholders held a national consultation on 'why Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms need to be regulated to prevent promotion of tobacco/nicotine use', on Thursday.
The consultation that occurred online brainstormed on bringing the OTT platforms under the Tabacco Disclaimer Rule – now, more than ever as the viewership increased during the Covid lockdown.
In the event, it was discussed that there are 45 crore OTT subscribers in the country, causing a huge impact of the content on the viewers.
Speaking at the event, S Cyril Alexander, State convenor, TNPFTC said, "Public, including children have become accustomed to OTT platforms during the Covid lockdown. As currently there is no regulation, OTT platforms have a choice to stream any tobacco-usage content without any restrictions."
"When action can be taken against the theatre owners for streaming violations, how can OTT be exempted?"questioned Alexander.
Furthermore, Cyril pointed out that among the 19 prominent OTT platforms in the country, OTT platforms which had maximum violations reported through tobacco monitor in terms of its popularity.
Subsequently, some of the challenges faced in bringing such a regulation, discussed in the consultation are: lack of effective body to address the issue, several complaints taken up to the grievance board has been rejected stating that the violations do not come under Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (COTPA), 2003 and importantly, the grievances redressal board committee members belonging to OTT platforms themselves.
Hence, the stakeholders urged for concrete policy to regulate OTT platforms, a need to adopt a mechanism to control tobacco violations in OTT platforms and appointing right members in the redressal committee.
With TNPFTC, the event was organised by Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER), E-Resource Centre for Tobacco Control (E-RCTC) under the Department of Community Medicine and School of Public Health (PGIMER), Chandigarh.
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