Netflix, Amazon Prime under India govt regulation


The government of India through has brought content providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime and online news portals under the ambit of the ministry of information and broadcasting.

The notification, signed by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, was issued Monday.

In India, the Press Council of India takes care of the print media, whereas the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) monitors TV news channels.

The Advertising Standards Council of India and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) are the regulatory bodies for advertising and films, respectively.

In October, India’s Supreme Court sought the government response on a petition on the issue of regulating OTT (over the top, or streaming) platforms through an autonomous body. The apex court issued notices to the government, the I&B ministry, and the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

OTT platforms not just include news portals but also streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar which can be accessed over the Internet.

The I&B ministry stressed on the need to regulate digital media earlier and had asked the court that it may start by appointing a committee of persons as amicus for laying down of guidelines in reference to the regulation of hate speech in media.

Information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar had said in 2019 that the government would not take any step that could curb the freedom of media.

But he did add that there should be a regulatory mechanism for OTT platforms, just like other media such as print and electronic do.

The flourishing of OTT platforms has given rise to new kind of films and shows away from Bollywood, with films and shows taking on bolder subjects, for example Mirzapur, Sacred Games, and suchlike.

There is also an underbelly of sleazy OTT platforms that has mushroomed.

On the other hand, censorship in India can smell funny sometimes; for instance lately there have been many shows where the word beef has been beeped out.