It looks like streaming services in India including Netflix, Hotstar, Jio, and others are planning to censor content on their platforms. According to a new report on the internet, the companies are planning to adopt a “self-censorship” strategy where they will adopt a “censorship code”. As part of the self-adopted code, the platforms will remove the content that has been banned by the courts in the country. This includes the content that disrespects the national flag, emblem, hurt religious sentiments or promotes violence or terrorism against the country, or even shows children in sexual acts.
According to a detailed report by The Economic Times, this new information has been confirmed by “multiple sources”. The report added that the reason these platforms are adopting this code to avoid the scenario where the government would interfere and impose its own set of rules for censorship which are likely to be different. Though, the report also added that Google, Amazon, and Facebook will not adopt the code because these companies think that this “will set a ‘dangerous’ precedent of regulating the internet’ and impact the freedom of expression online.
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This code will also include a “redressal mechanism” which will allow the users of the streaming platform to issue complain in case they think that the over-the-top (OTT) services have violated the code. This mechanism may gradually transform in an “adjudicatory body” that will resolve the complaints filed by the customers.
For context, other streaming platforms that are supportive of this move include Times Internet, Zee5, Alt Balaji, and Eros Now”. The parent companies of these platforms are currently running “traditional broadcast businesses” and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is facilitating the adoption of the code. The companies are currently planning to adopt the code and then work on the redressal mechanism instead of the adjudicatory body. The opposition to the move also believes that this process has been swayed by companies that want to bring the streaming companies on a level playing field to that of the traditional broadcasters.