In an attempt to avoid a hassle with the Indian government, leading online video streaming players like Netflix, Hotstar, and Reliance Jio along with others may soon sign up for a voluntary censorship code to block the censored content. This self-censorship code would stop them from showing content that’s banned by Indian courts. Which disrespect the national emblem and flag. Also, outrages religious sentiments, promotes terrorism or violence against the state and shows children in sexual acts over internet censorship.
Video-on-demand (VOD) platforms see voluntary censorship as a preemptive move to avoid the Indian government imposing its own rules on censor media. Which some players expect that it will be onerous. However, some players who are unlikely to sign up for the code include Amazon, Facebook and Google. Who fears, this move will set a “dangerous” precedent of regulating the internet and interfere with creative freedom.
The self-censorship code will most likely adopt a redressal mechanism that will allow viewers to send complaints. If they judge the over-the-top (OTT) services to have violated it. This may evolve into an adjudicatory body to resolve customer complaints. Other members in favour of the code are Zee5, Times Internet, Eros Now and Alt Balaji. All of which have parent firms that also run traditional broadcast businesses. The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) is facilitating the process.
IAMAI president Subho Ray said that-
the code is still a work in progress and no one has yet accepted or rejected it.
Amazon, with its Prime streaming services, backed out from the plans as it felt that its subscribers might express outrage if the former adopts an industry censorship code and makes any alterations in movies and shows that the subscribers have paid to watch. Looks like the companies realized the close call of government interference on internet censorship. They have chosen voluntary censorship over regulators bringing in control on their streaming services.