A draft of a bill to regulate over-the-top (OTT) media services should be released after the Lunar New Year holiday, the National Communications Commission (NCC) said on Tuesday.
The commission had planned to have the draft act ready by the end of last year, but last week it said it had decided to review the proposal again, as the act, if passed, would make Taiwan the first nation in the world to stipulate laws to regulate OTT media services.
It welcomes public input on the draft after its release, NCC Acting Chairman Chen Yaw-shyang (陳耀祥) said on Tuesday.
The commission is focusing on the big OTT providers and would be more lenient toward small operators, commission Legal Department Director Huang Wen-che (黃文哲) said.
As such, self-media, including Internet celebrities and those making live broadcasts over social media, would fall under the proposed act’s jurisdiction, he said.
Preserving freedom of speech is one of the commission’s core tasks, and it would only intervene if an OTT service has affected the existing market order, Huang said.
Large OTT providers offering audio-visual content to viewers would be regulated by the law if it is passed, and this could include Netflix, Line TV, iQiyi (愛奇藝), YouTube TV and Apple TV, Huang said.
“We are still discussing the standards that would be used to determine if an OTT service operator is large enough to be regulated by the law,” he said.
As iQiyi is a China-based OTT provider, the commission would have to consult the Mainland Affairs Council on how it should approach potential cases involving iQiyi, Huang said.
The commission’s job is to oversee the operation of media service operators, while the ministries of culture and economic affairs would be in charge of encouraging the development of OTT media content, Huang said.
Asked by reporters when the draft act would be reviewed by legislators, Huang said that it depended on the public comments the commission receives after releasing the draft.
“We are still discussing internally the definitions of ‘self media’ and ‘social media user,’ as there has yet to be a clear difference between the two,” he said.
The commission has received complaints over some of the details in the proposed act, such as the fact that as a Chinese company iQiyi is only obligated to follow the rules set by the Chinese government, Huang said.
OTT media operators that would be regulated by the act have also asked to have a certain percentage of programming reserved for locally produced programs, the commission said.
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