OTT content filter proposed

OTT content filter proposed

Asean regulators agree to go forward

Over-the-top (OTT) service providers operating businesses in Asean will be urged to jointly establish a centre in each country to help screen out fake, fraud and illicit content on their platforms, according to a proposal agreed upon by telecom regulators in the bloc.

The proposal was made by Takorn Tantasith, secretary-general of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), yesterday at an side meeting of the 25th Asean Telecommunication Regulators' Council (ATRC), held in Bangkok until Friday.

The meeting included representatives from Asean telecom regulators and OTT companies such as Facebook, Line, Amazon, Netflix and Walt Disney.

OTT operators may jointly form what is called a coordination and verification centre in each country to help verify information brought onto their platforms, said Mr Takorn.

The centre will be a focal point for regulators and government agencies to collaborate efforts with OTT operators to tackle problems about fraudulent content on their platforms, he said.

The idea was supported by most Asean regulators and will be proposed at the ATRC meeting today, said Mr Takorn.

Facebook authorises more than 400 organisations in the US to help verify facts and tackle illicit information on its platforms, he said, but the practice has yet to be implemented in Asean despite the enormous number of Facebook users.

"A representative from Facebook Singapore agreed with the idea," Mr Takorn said, noting the proposal would be raised with management in the US for consideration.

The proposal is in line with the government's push to set up an anti-fake news centre, he said.

Referring to possible tax measures that would be applied to OTT operators, Mr Takorn indicated Thailand will propose a collective solution to fairly obtain an "economic contribution" in terms of revenue from OTT businesses.

The framework of the measure must take into account three principles, he said. First, the measure must not negatively affect consumers of OTT services. No burden should be put on consumers in terms of rising service prices, especially when taxes are applied to OTT operators, he said.

Second, the OTT revenue must be given to the state. Lastly, OTT businesses should also be entitled to benefits or incentives when they comply with the scheme, said Mr Takorn.

"This is vital because it would encourage smooth cooperation from OTT businesses," he said.

Further details of the approach will be known by Friday, said Mr Takorn.

OTT refers to digital applications or services that operate on internet networks. These players include Facebook, YouTube, Line and Netflix. The rise of OTT operators is causing challenges for regulators worldwide regarding how to properly govern or tax them.

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