The Government of India on Wednesday notified that it is bringing online news portals and content providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video under the scrutiny of the Information and Broadcasting ministry.
The new step would allow government interference in regulating OTT platforms content, which, as of now, are under no law or autonomous body governing them. To note, many politicians and concerned, over the years, have asked the government to put a sensible rein on the content being streamed on these OTT portals.
As of now, there are multiple bodies that regulate online content in India including, the Press Council of India that takes care of the print media, the News Broadcasters Association that monitors news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India is for advertising while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) takes care of films.
Despite being scrutinised by the aforementioned autonomous government bodies, print media in India still enjoys the freedom to print whatever they please until it’s not against the sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Similarly, CBFC takes care of movies releasing for the general public and ensures there is no promotion of nudity or content that would distraught the peace, culture and history of the country when ran on the big screen.
However, OTT platforms don’t come under any such scrutiny and thus have scenes that no elder would want their little kid to see (at least mine). Thus, taking note of the same and replying to a petition seeking regulation of OTT platforms by an autonomous body, the Supreme Court had earlier issued notices to the centre, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India.
Today’s notification by the government seems to be a reply to the same notice.
For the unaware, OTT platforms include news portals and also streaming services such as Hotstar, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These platforms, over the years, have allowed artists to infuse content in the entrainment market without needing to care about getting clearance certificates from the censor board.
Last year, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that the government will not take any step that curbs media freedom that India enjoys but still there needs to be some kind of regulation on over-the-top platforms (OTT), as there is for the print and electronic media as well as films.