- Hindu nationalist groups have protested against Netflix shows such as Leila
- I&B ministry will be meeting representatives of OTT platforms along with other stakeholders
- Karnataka HC has asked the government to expedite the process of certification for online content
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has asked for internet content certification suggestions for OTT Platforms from stakeholders. I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar asked for recommendations during an event to unveil a new Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) logo and certificate design on Saturday in Mumbai. During the event organized by CBFC Mumbai, the minister, however, did not provide further information in this respect.
There are no guidelines for certifying or censoring content online as of now. Earlier this year, nine OTT video-on-demand providers, including Hotstar, Voot, ZEE5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Reliance Jio, Netflix and Eros Now, under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), decided to embrace a self-regulatory code of best practice.
Meanwhile, India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRAI) is investigating the option of introducing OTT digital communications services that deliver the same or similar services as telecom service suppliers (TSPs) under comparable licensing or regulatory standards, although no mandate has yet been issued.
What is shown on the large screen has always been controlled by CBFC, but there has been no regulation for those who create content for internet platforms like YouTube and Netflix. The minister here is hinting at a likely regulation that can be applied to OTT platforms where there is no content on the Internet that violates Indian morality’s basics. Content on OTT platforms has a broad reach these days and therefore the ministry may have felt it essential to introduce a regulation, but we also need to understand that a self-regulatory board is already in place under the aegis of IAMAI, “said Atul Pandey, Khaitan & Co’s partner.
The government is planning to meet with representatives of OTT platforms, civil society members, the technical community, media, ISPs and legal professionals to further address the problem. I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar informed a meeting on Saturday (31 August) of the movie sector and representatives of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that the meeting would be held shortly.
OTT video streaming platforms include Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji, Reliance Jio, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Eros Now and are under the scanner. According to the study, the High Court of Karnataka also told the Ministry to speed up the online action on the content.