Netflix and Amazon on different sides over self censorship in India


Netflix is currently facing a lawsuit over the portrayal of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in hit 2018 Original Sacred Games. — Reuters

Netflix is currently facing a lawsuit over the portrayal of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in hit 2018 Original Sacred Games. — Reuters

LOS ANGELES: Leading streaming video platforms have signed an agreement to self-regulate content in the booming Indian market. 

Signatories include Netflix, Hotstar, Sony Liv, Eros Now, Arre, Alt Balaji and Voot have signed an agreement to self-regulate content for the booming Indian market. But Amazon and Facebook are among those OTT companies which so far have not. 

India’s Internet and Mobile Association of India created a ‘Code Of Best Practices For Online Curated Content Providers’ that the streamers have signed. Amazon Prime Video argues that existing Indian laws are adequate to deal with content. The Indian OTT market is expected to grow to a value of US$5bil (RM20.56bil) by 2023, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group. 

The agreement states that the signatories will not exhibit content that is disrespectful of the Indian national flag and emblem; representations of children engaged in real or simulated sexual activities; content that outrages religious sentiments; content that promotes or encourages terrorism and other forms of violence against India; and banned content. 

OTT content does not currently fall under the purview of India’s often draconian censorship rules, which administered by the country’s Central Board of Film Certification. There have been rumours that the country’s Information and Broadcasting ministry was considering subjecting OTT content to the same rules. 

Content regulation is already fraught in a country where religious feelings run high and every minority has access to the courts. The release plans of dozens of films have been affected by court cases and attempted injunctions. 

Last year the theatrical release of historical epic Padmavati was delayed by protesters who anticipated that it would hurt their feelings. While the release went ahead some weeks later, it was forced to change its title to become Padmaavat. Currently, Netflix is facing a lawsuit over the portrayal of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in hit 2018 Original Sacred Games. – Variety/Reuters