Indian government asks streaming services to self-regulate

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Don’t be surprised if your favorite show or scene from it disappears from your favorite streaming platform. The government has asked streaming services to look at a new form of self censorship. The major streaming services have been asked to form an independent adjudicatory body and adopt a new self-regulation code. This new body might work similar to the way television content gets moderated in the country. This could mean that content offered by streaming services might have same moderation like the one adopted by major TV channels.

The government order to form an independent adjudicatory body and adopt a new self-regulation code was first reported by Mumbai Mirror. It reported about a meeting between Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Prakash Javadekar and representatives of various streaming platforms. The meeting was attended by representatives from Netflix, Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Voot, Zee5, ALTBalaji, SonyLiv, Arre, MX Player and Jio. The minister has given the industry a hundred days to set up this adjudicatory body to implement self-regulation.

The report states that Javadekar cited China as an example to these streaming services. He reportedly referred to the standards accepted by platforms there for moderation of their content. Four OTT platforms refused to be a part of the Digital Content Complaint Council (DCCC), which was formed last month as an adjudicatory body. Amazon Prime Video, says the report, expressed displeasure over this self-regulation. Streaming platforms such as Netflix, Zee5, MX Player and AltBalaji have sought more time to deliberate.

The report also notes that Hotstar, Voot, Jio, Arre and SonyLIV have signed up with DCCC. Javadekar reportedly cited his own house as an example for wanting self-regulation of content. He said it is necessary to regulate what can be watched together by an entire family together. Instead of imposing restrictions, the government is pushing towards self-regulation. “While there is no consensus among OTT players right now, we hope once DCCC is in place, we will have more players join us,” one of the signatories told Mumbai Mirror.

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