News

November 11, 2019

Ministry Of Information & Broadcasting To Discuss Norms To Regulate Content With Video Streaming Platforms


[ By Bobby Anthony ]

Netflix-Amazon-Hotstar

The Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) ministry plans to hold a second round of consultation on regulating online video content in Chennai shortly.

The development comes even as the online video streaming industry players have begun pushing back on possible censorship by the government.

The ministry has already conducted a first round of consultations in Mumbai in October after inviting all top online curated content providers (OCCPs) including Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar through the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

As per indications available so far, the OCCP industry believes that there are enough laws, including the Information Technology Act, to regulate online content as well as seek legal recourse. The industry stated that streaming platforms are meant for private viewing, unlike traditional media like television and cinema, which are broadcast publicly.

The industry seems to be lobbying for a combination of pre-certification, warnings and parental control instead of any fresh legislation. This could take the form of age rating to protect vulnerable groups like children.

The move to formulate a voluntary self-regulatory code which disallowed certain kinds of content came after a few public interest litigations were filed in various courts demanding stricter control of content.

There is also pressure from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ruling BJP’s ideological parent, to restrict ‘anti national’ and ‘anti-Hindu’ content on streaming platforms.

However, the self-regulatory code has not proven strong enough to assuage concerns of lawmakers.

Besides, Amazon Prime Video, one of the top streaming platforms, is not part of the voluntary code, whose participants are struggling to move forward because some players like Hotstar have advocated an adjudicatory process to rule on content which violates the code.

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