Netflix, Amazon Prime, HotStar, and other OTT platforms now under Government Regulation in India

November 11, 2020, The Liberacy:- Netflix, Amazon Prime, HotStar, and many other over-the-top (OTT) platforms will now be regulated by the Government of India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

In a gazette published by the Indian government, which was signed by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, the government has clearly stated the regulation of digital content including Online films, Digital News and Current Affairs.
After the notification, all the OTT content and other digital content will be regulated by the I&B Ministry headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

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Netflix, HotStar, Amazon Prime
Netflix, HotStar, Amazon Prime

This decision was long pending for the regulation of this content. In October 2019, the government did give a sign of concern about the content on the OTT platform and even asked video streaming services like Netflix and HotStar to come up with a “Self-regulatory” body to regulate the content.

In response to the government’s concerns, in January 2019, about eight video streaming platforms came up with a self-regulatory body and laid down some principals and codes for the regulation of content on their platforms.
These were,

  1. Content that deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag.
  2. Any visual or storyline that promotes child pornography.
  3. Any content that ‚Äúmaliciously‚ÄĚ intends to outrage religious sentiments.
  4. Content that ‚Äúdeliberately and maliciously‚ÄĚ promotes or encourages terrorism.
  5. Any content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by law or court.

The Government of India refused to accept these codes.

After this, the content shown on any OTT platform will be strictly regulated by the Indian government and the body it appoints.
This will surely imbibe an unsaid “Censorship” for the OTT platforms, and content that doesn’t meet the requirements set by the government will be disallowed.

Here, it will be interesting to see if this regulation puts a barrier to the freedom of creativity.

Currently, the Press Council of India regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) regulates and directs the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India regulates advertising, and the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) censors and regulates the films produced in the territory of India.

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