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Industry-friendly regulation for digital platforms sought

Published : 13 Aug 2022 11:55 PM

Digital, social media and OTT platform entrepreneurs and experts on Saturday demanded of the government for ensuring industry-friendly regulation so that these new media can harness the potentials of the new avenue of economic opportunities.

They made this demand at a seminar titled "Regulation of Digital, Social Media & OTT Platforms: The need to strike the right balance" organized by FBCCI held today at the FBCCI in the capital.

They said that digital platforms come with new opportunities of creative production, employment and showcase country's culture globally. Hence, the regulation should not be regulatory rather it should facilitate the growth of the industry.

They also opined that two different regulations prepared by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology might contradict each other while getting implemented, said a press release. However, responding to the concerns, Minister for Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology Mustafa Jabbar, while speaking as the chief guest, said the two ministries have different areas of supervision. "Therefore, there is no scope of conflict in future," he assured.

The minister also opined in favor of the regulation adding that Facebook and Youtube run on the USA based community standard, many of which are not suitable to Bangladesh. "The draft regulation will ensure that the online content won't go against the norms and values of Bangladesh,"

Jabbar also announced that the home network of 5G will be launched in January next year.

Speaking as the special guest, Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Md. Mokbul Hossain informed that two different ministries prepared different guidelines on the same issue following the directives of the court.

Earlier, FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin urged the policymakers not to hinder the growth of the new potential sectors. He also stressed to further distinguish the scope of monitoring of the two ministries.

He also called for grabbing the digital opportunities upholding the country's very own culture to global platforms.

FBCCI senior vice president Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu thanked the minister for successful use of information technology during the time of Covid-19 pandemic.

The keynote presented by Barrister Rashna Imam came up with the recommendations of soft regulation and self-regulation of the platforms and also more soft punitive measures for the violation of the regulation. She also called for securing net neutrality.

In panel discussion, FBCCI director Syed Almas Kabir informed that the global OTT Platform market size is of $178 billion which will reach $275 billion by 2027. Therefore, to strengthen Bangladesh's position in this market, the regulation must facilitate the local companies.

BTRC DG (System & Services) Brig. Gen. Md Nasim Parvez said that regulation is drafted with the aim of securing the responsible business by the digital platforms.

In the end, BTRC discussed with 61 organizations including Facebook and Tiktok. The agency also went through the Indian and New Zealand's regulations, the DG informed. He also said that any digital platform can register with BTRC without any cost.

Managing Director of Asia Internet Coalition Jeff Paine urged the government to analyze the economic impact of the new regulation before implementing.

Meta Bangladesh Public Policy Head Sabhanaz Rashid Diya demanded different regulations for curated and un-curated content providers.

RTV CEO Syed Ashik Rahman opined that the foreign content producers doing business in Bangladesh must set up their local offices in Bangladesh.

Co-founder and director Navidul Huq urged the government to facilitate the journey of local OTT platforms with the regulation as they compete with international platforms and depict local cultures as well.

Executive Editor of Dhaka Tribune Reaz Ahmad called for reducing the level of punishment in the draft regulation.

FBCCI secretary general Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque moderated the seminar.