OTT ground rules seen as necessary

OTT ground rules seen as necessary

Popular Facebook fanpage operators have agreed to the regulatory framework for over-the-top (OTT) service, saying it will improve content quality and prevent illegal activity on the digital platform.

The agreement followed the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) meeting yesterday with 30 top Facebook fanpage operators led by Drama-Addict, E-Jun, Mhor Lab Panda, and SpokeDark TV to discuss the OTT regulatory framework.

The page operators opined that the OTT regulatory framework is crucial to create business standard and rules for Facebook fanpage operators in Thailand. They believe the OTT regulations will benefit all parties by transparently regulating illegal actions and solving possible problems such as controversial advertising and violent content.

Woody Milintachinda, a famous chat show host and operator of the Woody fanpage, said the OTT regulatory framework is suitable for Thai media, especially for online platforms.

However, he wants clarification on how the regulation will be executed on OTT service operators, including famous Facebook fanpages, as the picture is unclear and will confuse both audiences and media operators.

Winyu Wongsurawat, owner of SpokeDark TV, a political satire Facebook page, said he agreed in principle with the OTT regulatory framework to fight against Facebook fanpages that break the law, but media should have freedom of speech and expression.

"In my opinion, the media is already regulated sufficiently with self-censorship and the Computer Crime Act. The new OTT regulations will create more complications for the media industry," he said.

The NBTC is in the process of drafting regulatory framework to establish industry standards and a level playing field for OTT operators, and is creating a control list for OTT operators and content providers.

A clearer picture of the regulatory framework is expected to be presented next week and come into effect by August.

Col Natee Sukonrat, chairman of the NBTC's broadcasting committee, insists that the OTT regulatory framework will be clear, and will not create complications.

The OTT regulation will use the complaint-based concept. The regulator will intervene or investigate OTT operations when it gets complaints from related parties.

The OTT business is categorised by the NBTC as a TV broadcasting service that does not use any frequency, similar to cable and satellite TV. The streaming video on OTT platform only differs from cable and satellite TV as OTT users can post their content directly to viewers.

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