Explained: Fear of censorship as OTT's come under the government

The government has brought video steaming OTT platforms including the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Hotstar under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and broadcasting. Before this, the platforms were under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Shriya RoyUpdated: Thursday, November 12, 2020, 07:37 PM IST
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The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a representative body of the OTT platforms had proposed a self-regulatory model. The proposal was however, was shot down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,

The questions that are now in everyone's mind is what now? What happens to the content on these platforms? How does it change? What are the new regulations? Is this a step towards creative censorship on these platforms?

So far in India, there are no laws or rules regulating OTT platforms. With the government deciding to bring any film, audio visual, and news content by these online content providers under its purview, the very first challenge for the OTT platforms would be to keep a tight check on the their content.

The government’s move could also mean that these platforms would now have to directly apply for certification and approval of the content they want to stream. This could give rise to conflicts as most OTT platforms have content that could otherwise be censored by the certification boards.

OTT platforms are likely to resist plans to censor their content as these platforms have often chosen to produce movies and documentaries on politically sensitive topics. In India, the regulation of such platforms has been widely debated with most creators, directors, artist voicing strong opposition to the censorship of artistic freedom. There has been a growing fear of a ‘lisence raj’ on the internet.

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