Netflix Pushes for ‘Self-Regulatory Code’ in India to Avoid State Censorship

Netflix in India
INDRANIL MUKHERJEE / Getty

Netflix joined other streaming content platforms in signing onto an industry-wide self-regulatory code for its operations in India. In doing so, the digital content providers hope to assuage political appetites for increasing state-driven censorship of their platforms.

India Today reported some provisions of the aforementioned code of conduct which will prohibit the following types of content:

  • Content which deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag;
  • Content which represents a child engaged in real or simulated sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes;
  • Content which deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community;
  • Content which deliberately and maliciously promotes or encourages terrorism and other forms of violence against the State (of India) or its institutions; and
  • Content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by online video service under applicable laws or by any court with competent jurisdiction.

The code of conduct further requires signatory companies to establish mechanisms for the reception, consideration, and resolution of consumer complaints; sent directly or forwarded from India’s Ministries of Information and Broadcasting or Electronics and Information.

The code’s signatories describe their move as an effort to preserve “creative freedom” in balance with “consumer interests.”

Via the Hollywood Reporter:

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), a local industry body, will oversee the new code. Its committee on digital entertainment had earlier stated on its website that “it is a matter of time before regulatory and judicial authorities step in,” while adding that “to avoid any unilateral regulation governing digital entertainment content, it is important for all [online video platforms] to debate this issue and create solutions from within.”

Amazon Prime Video, which came to India in 2016, did not sign onto the code. An Amazon representative told the Hollywood Reporter: “While we are assessing the situation, we believe that the current laws are adequate to fulfill this mission.”

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