After a new notification issed by the central government, OTT platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video, Hotstar and several others will now be regulated by the ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B Ministry). Effective immediately, the order brings all the platforms under the ministry, headed by Prakash Javadekar.
According to the notification released on November 9, the President signed the order to comprise current affairs, digital news and film content under the authority of the I&B ministry.
“In the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961, in the second schedule under the heading ‘Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’ after entry 22, the following sub-heading and entries shall be inserted, namely: Films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers; news and current affairs content on online platforms,” read the notification dated Tuesday, 9 November,” the government notification read.
Government issues order bringing online films and audio-visual programmes, and online news and current affairs content under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. pic.twitter.com/MoJAjW8fUH
— ANI (@ANI) November 11, 2020
The Indian Express spoke to notable names from the film industry, who expressed their disappointment with the government’s new order. Film-maker Hansal Mehta told Indian Express, “While this decision wasn’t unexpected, it is still a reason for despair. This desperation for control of free speech and expression does not augur well. I am currently very disappointed.”
Alankrita Shrivastava, whose sex-driven film Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare recently premiered on Netflix, told expressed, “I don’t know the details of the new decision. But we have been living with censorship in the theatrical and broadcast space since forever. It is a legacy of the British we should have shrugged off long ago. I think the idea of censorship itself is problematic for me regardless of the medium. As a filmmaker working in a free and democratic country, I think there should be no censorship at all on any medium. I think adult citizens who are allowed to vote should be allowed to watch what they want on the big screen or on their phones and computers. I think certifying content for age is fine, but censoring content is not fine. Because censoring films and stories equals to censoring thoughts.”