On World No-Tobacco Day, Govt Makes Anti-Tobacco Warnings Must For OTT Platforms

New Delhi: Anti-tobacco warnings will, henceforth, be mandatory for all OTT platforms, the Union Health Ministry directed on Wednesday.

On World No-Tobacco Day, the government laid down new rules for anti-tobacco warnings for publishers with the warning that failure to comply with those will lead to strict action.

OTT platforms will have to display anti-tobacco warnings and disclaimers similar to the ones displayed during screening of movies in theatres and TV programmes.

OTT platforms will also be required to exhibit an anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen when tobacco products or their use are displayed during the programme.

With the popularity of OTT platforms growing rapidly, the government expects new rules to help play a crucial role in influencing the minds of impressionable youngsters, especially minors who have easy access to smartphones and Internet.

The Union government had enacted Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Rules, 2004, (COTPA) to discourage tobacco use by eliminating all direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco, PTI reported.

The authorities now expect India to be a global leader in tobacco regulation by implementing OTT regulations.

If an OTT platform fails to comply with the new rules, Ministries of Health, Information & Broadcasting and Electronics & Information Technology will issue a notice giving reasonable opportunity to them to explain such failures and make appropriate modifications to the content.

As per new rules, ‘online curated content’ means any curated catalogue of audio-visual content, other than news and current affairs, which is owned by, licensed to or contracted to be transmitted by a publisher of online curated content and made available on demand over the internet or computer networks.

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