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'Censorship': Indian Gov't Empowers Itself to Regulate Online News, Streaming Platform like Netflix

© AP Photo / Chris PizzelloNetflix headquarters in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles is pictured, Monday, May 4, 2020
Netflix headquarters in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles is pictured, Monday, May 4, 2020 - Sputnik International
Until today’s order, the digital content and streaming platforms were not governed under law or by any autonomous body in India. The amendment gives the government the right to regulate and intervene in the content of  OTT platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon’s Prime Video.

The Government of India on Wednesday issued an order to task the Information and Broadcasting Ministry with regulating online news portals, OOT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, and current affairs portals. 

The order to subject online films, audio-visual programmes, online news, current affairs on online platforms to the control of the I&B Ministry headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, has been approved by the president of India.

"This is simply bringing ‘content’ from under the purview of IT to I&B. OTT though is a new platform, and concerns regarding content couldn’t be raised with the government earlier; now this will be possible. I&B now will be the nodal ministry," India Today quoted the Information and Broadcasting Ministry sources as saying.

The new amendment, reflecting an order issued on 9 November means that the government can intervene in the release of online audio-visual or news content which has been deemed objectionable.

Several people instantly took to Twitter to react and called it “censorship of web content”, but some termed it important.

Several Indian-made original content streamed by these OTT platforms have remained under the radar of conservative voices in the country, which have found fault with the content, which includes abusive language, intimate scenes and same-sex encounters.
India's Supreme Court had asked for the federal government's response last month to a petition that OTT platforms be regulated by an autonomous body.

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