Video streaming services Netflix and Hotstar are considering to adopt some self-regulation guidelines for content that is streamed on their platforms in India, according to a report in Reuters. According to sources that have been quoted in the report, both the services are planning to do this in order to stay away from potential government censorship.
There are certain film and television certification bodies in the country that moderate content that is available publically. However, until now, Indian laws do not mandate any censorship of content on online video streaming platforms like Netflix and Hotstar. However, it is also worth noticing that Netflix was taken to court last year after Sacred Games, its first Indian original series, insulted former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
With this, the concerns about the government potentially regulating content on online platforms started arising in the industry. Reuters has also reported about a draft of an unofficial code that will be adopted by Netflix, Hotstar and other players in the industry. According to Reuters, the video streaming platforms would not show any content that shows a child “engaged in real or simulated sexual activities”, can encourage “terrorism” and is disrespectful towards India’s national flag.
However, one video streaming platform that will not be signing the code is Amazon Prime Video, although it helped to draft it. The reason for this is said to be that the company does not want to be a part of any regulations that have been created in the absence of government, according to a source familiar with the matter quoted by Reuters. The service has been quoted saying that for now, it will be assessing the situation, but it also feels that the “the current laws are adequate.”
The code has been drafted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India with industry consultation. The president of the Internet and Mobile Association of India, Subho Ray said that the code will be made public on Thursday, however, this is just a draft as of now and the final version may come with some changes.
We should mention that the draft also states that any company which signs it will bar content that can “deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community.”
It has also been added in the draft that the companies will have to have a person or an internal team to address all “consumer-related concerns and complaints.”