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Netflix, Hotstar, AltBalaji sign on to self-regulate content, Amazon Prime Video to join soon

The final version of the unofficial code will be reviewed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India, and released this week. 

Our Correspondent

The rise of the digital platform has also led to growing calls for censorship of content online. According to the latest reports, Netflix, Zee5, Eros Now and AltBalaji are among the channels which have agreed to regulate the content on their platforms. Amazon Prime Video is yet to convey its approval. 

According to a Reuters report, Netflix and Hotstar have already adopted self-regulation guidelines to streamline content on their streaming platforms. 

The decision is particularly relevant in view of the controversy Netflix had to face after public-interest petitions were filed against thier original Indian series, Sacred Games (2018) last year. The makers were accused of 'insulting' former prime ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. 

More recently, Hotstar had to pull down the latest episode of Koffee With Karan in view of the growing clamour against the crass behaviour and sexist speech by the guests on the show, Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul. 

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) does not have jurisdiction on digital content. The government did stipulate introducing a regulatory body to screen online content. However, the platforms have worked together to come up with a self-regulatory code. 

Amazon Prime Inc, while not yet a part of the signatory bodies, is reported to have helped draft the code. The Reuters report suggests that Amazon Prime Video does not want to act in the absence of a government-mandated regulation. 

The online magazine, The Ken, quoted a source as saying, "The primary objective of self-regulation is to keep the government away and do something about the ongoing complaints before the state does." 

The companies are expected to allocate a member, a team, or a department to receive and address any complaints from users regarding the content screened on their platforms. According to Reuters, the unofficial code will prohibit content that shows a child “engaged in real or simulated sexual activities”, is disrespectful of India’s national flag or encourages “terrorism”.

Subho Roy, president, Internet and Mobile Association of India, which was involved in the drafting of the code, has revealed to Reuters that the report will be released later on Thursday. The final regulatory code is likely to have more changes. 

Late last year, a non-government organization, Justice For Rights Foundation, had filed a petition against Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar, for showing sexually explicit content, demanding a regulator for such platforms. The case is to come up for hearing on 8 February. 

Related topics

Netflix ALTBalaji Amazon Prime Video Hotstar Zee5 Eros Now