If television was not censored enough, we’re now going to have to deal with OTT platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar being under the watchful eye of the Indian government. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will now have control over and regulate all content from online platforms. This also includes news and current affairs content that is currently online. The amendment was signed by President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday. The Union Ministry will now be the regulatory body in charge of content on OTT platforms.
This move comes after the fact that there was no regulatory body for OTT platforms in India yet. Why we need one is another question for another day, but for now, that seems to be the consensus as to why this amendment was passed. In India, The Press Council of India regulates print media while the News broadcasters Association regulates TV channels and so on and so forth. In regard to online media and content, there was no such body. Back in January 2019, we reported that Netflix and eight other OTT players signed a self-Regulatory Code, which is meant for the regulation of content and not censoring it. The code was signed by content providers under the backing of IAMAI. Well, that clearly is not in play right now with the Indian government now lording over online content.
In an earlier statement to the Indian Express, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar had stated that OTT platforms had not come up with a ‘credible self-regulation method or proposal’. This could also have been a factor on the Indian government coming down on OTT platforms.
We reached out the Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+Hotstar for a statement, and we will update this article as and when they respond.
Whatever the case may be, if regulation on Indian television is any metric to go by, you can kiss all that uncensored content on Netflix, Prime Video and the like goodbye.