We reported last month that there were talks about Netflix, Hotstar and Jio looking at creating a self-regulatory code that would censor the kind of content they create, the edict in the code being that content should not promote terrorism, disrespect the national emblem and the flag, outrage religious sentiments and show children in sexual acts. However, other giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google were not keen on signing up for the code.
There has now been a development in this matter. Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, ZEE5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALTBalaji and Eros Now have now signed a best practices code which will require them to adopt self regulation guidelines for the content they create. Amazon Prime Video has opted out of this.
The goal is to preserve freedom of speech and expression as presented in the constitution of India, while following principles laid out in the Information Technology Act and the Indian Penal Code, among others. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) will oversee the code, designed with the purpose of taking steps internally and avoiding any possible external regulatory authorities. It is said that the signatories will also establish an internal redressal department with the purpose of receiving and considering complaints from consumers and also those forwarded by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting or Ministry of Electronics and information.
Last year, a PIL by NGO Justice for Rights Foundation had been moved in the Delhi High Court for guidelines regulating online streaming platforms, alleging that they show sexually explicit content. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had refused to buckle under pressure for removing inflammatory dialogues and scenes, but it seems that the grip on content is getting tighter, and what we see, from now on, would not really be how the makers had intended it to be.