The Ministry of Communications and Technology is regulating OTT Platforms and Youtube channels in Nepal.
It has amended the National Broadcasting Regulations for the eleventh time in Nepal Gazette and introduced the new regulation.
For the first time, YouTube and other similar broadcasts are brought into the legal framework by this change.
The rules will regulate online television transmission of audio-visual programming across a variety of OTT platforms, such as YouTube and the Internet.
The service offered through the internet without using any program through DTH cable or satellite television is referred to as OTT, according to the definition stated in sub-rule 2 of rule 2 of the modified rules. It also mentions media streaming services via the Internet on various platforms.
Similarly, internet television is defined as the act of generating audio-visual programming on the Internet on a regular basis.
Also, Programs Should be Classified According to the Age Groups
Programs appropriate for children of all ages should be classified as ‘U,’ programs appropriate for ten to eighteen years should be rated ‘R,’ and programs appropriate for those over the age of eighteen years should be rated ‘A.’
This will help with the classification of contents and will also make it easier for the regulating bodies to scrutinize these platforms.
According to Gogan Bahadur Hamal, director-general of the Department of Information and Broadcasting,
“This amendment would bring broadcasts from various other platforms, including YouTube, under the eyes of the law. Now it will be effective for the implementation. More explanations will come through the directives.”
What are the major OTT platforms in Nepal?
Over-The-Top Platforms, or OTT, are services that provide users with direct Internet access to movies, TV shows, and other media, bypassing cable or satellite systems. Internet-connected devices such as laptops, smartphones, set-top boxes, and smart TVs can access OTT services.
After the ban on analog TV systems, many digital TV platforms emerged in Nepal. This also gave rise to OTT platforms, as the use of the internet has grown at a fast pace. NetTV is the first OTT platform in Nepal. Some others are Nepal Flix, Wowtime by Nepal Telecom, Fopi, etc.
Similarly, Indian OTT platforms like AltBalaji, Sonyliv also have entered Nepal. Now, they will need to take a license from the Ministry to operate in Nepal.
This has raised a concern of people to discuss the relevancy of these rules. A debate is happening on this issue on social media as well. Obviously, this rule is mostly aimed to control the flow of misinformation and unsolicited content/views/news through the Youtube channels or online TVs. This might filter unnecessary contents from these platforms and the people making such might be discouraged by the registration requirements.
However, genuine content creators might need to bear huge expenses since it is more than the minimum capital requirement to start a company. The Department of Information and Broadcasting has informed that it will be followed by some directives very soon to make it more clear on the regulations on OTT platforms. We will keep you informed about any updates followed by this rule.