Netflix & Other OTT Platforms to Be Regulated After Complaints?

The government is considering regulation and certification of online content.

Updated04 Sep 2019, 02:01 PM IST
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Concerned officials from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry are planning to meet representatives from over-the-top (OTT) platforms along with ISPs, legal experts and others to address the regulation and certification of online content.

Currently online streaming platforms such as Hotstar, Voot, ZEE5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Netflix, Eros Now and the content they produce in India do not require approval from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). On Saturday, 31 August, I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said the ministry will start meeting stakeholders over certification of online content soon.

The trigger for the move is said to be an alleged surge in “anti-Hindu content” on various OTT platforms that has reportedly upset organisations such as the RSS and the VHP. Shows such as Leila, Patriot Act (both streaming on Netflix), Kafir and The Final Call (on Zee5) have already been flagged for their provocative content and the I&B Ministry will soon meet all the major OTT players to discuss the situation.

In January, online curated content providers, including Netflix and Hotstar, voluntarily signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Amazon Prime Video, however, is not part to the self-regulatory code.

“There have been at least seven PILs against the content of OTTs in various courts of India. Right now, there is nothing that the viewer can do if he has a problem with content, except go to court. The model of Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), an independent self-regulatory body to address TV complaints is what we are looking forward to discuss with stakeholders,” an official told Economic Times.

The Supreme Court has already issued a notice to the central government to regulate uncertified and sexually explicit content on online streaming platforms.

“The online platforms are displaying unlicensed, unregulated, uncertified content and collecting subscription amounts from Indian consumers whereas the content telecast on the online platforms is illegal to the extent that certain movies are banned under the provisions of the Indian Cinematograph Act,”
H.S. Hora, Justice for Rights Foundation

The PIL has also alleged that the content of several show on OTT platforms violates provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology Act.

A similar appeal is pending before the Karnataka High Court.

(Inputs: IANS)

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Published: 04 Sep 2019, 01:59 PM IST
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