In a new development, the Government of India has brought online mediums (including OTT platforms and digital news portals) under the Ministry of I&B. Hereafter, the online films and audio-visual programmes on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar will be under regulation by the government.
A cabinet secretariat notification was issued with immediate effect. And thus, the law was signed by the President Ram Nath Kovind. Under this, the video streaming service providers including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Hotstar will be under the ambit of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
Digital Content Will Now Be Regulated:
Incidentally, there is no law in India that governs digital content. Whereas the other forms of content are being regulated by Press Council of India (print media regulator), the Central Board of Film Certification (films regulator) and the News Broadcasters Association (news channels regulator).
Citing the need for such regulation, the Ministry has been considering government-imposed censorship like China and Singapore.
A Good Initiative:
Apart from OTT platforms, online portals dealing with news, film and current affairs will now be monitored, regulated and certified. Indeed, this is a good initiative by the Union Government. With COVID-19 pandemic, filmmakers don’t have any other option except to release their movies on the OTT/Streaming platforms including Amazon Prime Video, Zee5, Hotstar, Netflix.
Not just movie streaming, these OTT platforms are into the production and release of short movies, feature films, documentaries, and web series.
Interestingly, none of the above streaming services has signed the self-regulatory code provided by the I&B Ministry. They just prohibited the content that promotes child pornography, terrorism, disrespect to national flag and emblem. However, there’s much beyond this moral code.
Also Read: Netflix Offers Free Access for Weekend in India (A Test Trial)