OTT Regulation: Revised draft bans a whole lot of content



The information ministry yesterday submitted to the High Court a revised draft law on regulating the content of Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms.

The draft contains a broad list of the type of content that would be prohibited for reasons that include hurting religious sentiments and disrupting communal harmony.

The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil will pass an order on the the draft of Over-The-Top Content Based Service Providing and Conduct Regulation-2022 tomorrow.

The draft bans content that go against the spirit of the Liberation War, the country’s culture and social values, can damage communal harmony, threaten the state’s unity, and contradict the laws, regulations and the constitution.

The information ministry submitted the first draft to the court on June 12 last year.

The HC bench then asked the ministry and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to update it.

However, an OTT platform executive said representatives of the industry met the ministry officials before the latest draft was produced, but their recommendations were not taken into account.

“Hurting sentiments is an undefined matter. Any content can hurt anyone’s sentiment. These provisions will seriously limit creativity of content creators in our business,” said the executive, wishing anonymity.

Contacted, Supreme Court lawyer Rashna Imam, who has been working on the issue, said, “The draft contains an extensive list of ‘prohibited content’, which, being broadly framed and vague, are susceptible to misuse, thereby violating the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression, and muzzling creativity.”

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