Online Streaming Platforms Netflix And Amazon Prime Face Censorship Threat in India

Online Streaming Platforms Netflix And Amazon Prime Face Censorship Threat in India

GUWAHATI: Popular online streaming platforms Netflix and Amazon Prime is facing potential censorship threats from India.

Although film and television certification bodies moderately present public content in India, the Indian law do not allow censorship of content on the increasingly popular online streaming platforms.

According to a government official, who has direct knowledge of the deliberations, the government’s concern has been deepened by increasing court cases and complaints filed to the police recently, alleging that some content was obscene and questioned religious sentiments.

While these potential threats made Netflix and Indian rival Hotstar to sign up for a self-regulation code in January, Amazon did not sign up and said "the current laws are adequate".

According to the government official, "The self-regulation isn't the same for all, which is raising a concern ... the directions are clear, we have to see how to address the problems."

It may be mentioned that, Sacred Games, Netflix’s first Indian original series, faced a court case last year over "offensive scenes" and derogatory remarks about a former Indian prime minister, but the case was later dismissed.

There was also a case that was filed last month by a politician who accused some Netflix shows of defaming Hindus.

All these cases and complaints have heightened the concerns of the Government, asking talks between India's Information & Broadcasting and IT ministries in an effort to come up with an acceptable regulatory framework for such content providers.

The government source also added, though it is possible the government will decide against any regulation, several other options are being explored, which include a self-regulation code without government interference, a government-monitored code and measures requiring platforms to obtain content approval in advance.

The government official also added that there was concern about disparity in how some content appeared on different mediums. For example, smoking scenes in Bollywood movies on Amazon and Netflix in India, do not carry the mandatory anti-tobacco textual warnings.

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Sentinel Assam