As the streaming video industry and the government hold discussions on regulation streaming services like Netflix and Hotstar in India, here’s a complete guide to OTT regulation in India.

The Digital Content Complaints Committee

  • IAMAI’s new code for online content streaming sets up a self-regulatory body, incorporates penalties [read]
    • Self Regulation for Online Curated Content Providers, IAMAI [read pdf]
  • Streaming players ask IAMAI to recall streaming content code, question legitimacy; IAMAI responds [read]
  • Lack of consensus and hard questions at IAMAI’s meeting on its DCCC content regulation code [read]
  • IAMAI to seek a consensus position on Content Regulation from its Digital Entertainment committee, following a Governing Council meeting [read]
  • IFF writes to Justice AP Shah raising concerns about new IAMAI Code [read]
  • Earlier code: Giving the hecklers the veto: On the self regulatory code that Netflix, STAR, Jio and others have signed [read]
    • Code of Best Practices for Online Curated Content Providers, IAMAI [read]
  • ASEAN-based streaming services announce self-regulatory content code [read]

Discussions on OTT streaming regulation

  • Notes from MediaNama’s Roundtable on Online Content Regulation, Delhi [paid, read]
  • Why platforms self-regulate, and challenges that come with it: MediaNama’s discussion on Online Content Regulation [read]
  • Regulating online content for children, and how it would affect businesses [read]
  • Will self-regulation for content platforms even work? [read]
  • Standardisation, jurisdiction, private viewing [read]
  • How do we regulate online content to protect children? [read]
  • Regulation is already strangulating artistic freedom of creators: Gursimran Khamba [read]
  • How should online content be regulated? Should it be pre-censored or certified? Notes from the CCG-NLUD discussion [read]
  • #NAMAPolicy Delhi: Regulation of Online Entertainment Content [read]

What the government is thinking on OTT regulation

  • I&B Ministry gives OTT industry 100 days to create adjudicatory authority [read]
  • Impossible for us to view everything on the Internet all the time: I&B Secy Amit Khare; Confidential consultation on content regulation [read]
  • I&B Ministry proposes to take over content jurisdiction from MEITY [read]
  • Censor board inserts itself into online content regulation debate [read]
  • OTT content has to be regulated: BJP spokesperson Hitesh Jain at MIB seminar on regulation of online content [read]
  • I&B Ministry, MEITY say streaming services are intermediaries [read]
  • Piyush Goyal: OTT platforms’ content cannot be allowed to resonate indiscriminately in India [read]
  • Sacred Games: Centre bats for freedom of expression in Netflix case [read]
  • 2018: I&B Ministry disbands online content regulation committee; MeitY to step in [read]
  • 2016: We are not considering censorship of Hotstar and Netflix: I&B Ministry [read]

Court cases on content regulation

  • Delhi HC dismisses petition seeking licensing and regulation of OTT platforms [read]
  • Karnataka HC dismisses PIL to regulate Netflix, Amazon content [read]
  • Delhi High Court refuses to block Netflix show that calls lawyers ‘thieves’ [read]
    • Analysis of case by Columbia Global Freedom of Expression [read]
  • Why Justice for Rights went to court, asking for online content to be regulated [read]
  • Paatal Lok: Punjab & Haryana High Court issues notice on suit to censor web series [read]
  • PIL seeks regulation of web streaming services, Bombay High Court issues notice to central government [read]
    • Bombay HC stayed this proceeding because of the Supreme Court considering the same issue [read order]
  • Online app content: Madhya Pradesh court tells CBFC, Centre to file reply in 8 weeks [read]
    • Government lawyer tells MP HC that a case on the same subject is pending at Supreme Court [read]
    • In an identical case in the same court, judge defers hearing on the case due to SC considering the same issue [read]
  • Calcutta HC leaves it up to government to censor Paatal Lok [read]
  • Lawyer files PIL in Madras HC seeking pre-censorship of social media, OTT platforms [read]

Miscellaneous reading

  • No, there is no need for ‘consensus around self-regulation’ for streaming services [read]\
  • Streaming platforms and self-censorship: An Indian perspective [read]
  • In 8 scenes, how a Sacred Games episode would change because of the TV content code [read]
  • Indecent representation of women: law to include digital media [read]
  • Right wing groups trend pro-censorship hashtag on Twitter [read]
  • TV broadcasters want the regulatory flexibility streaming services have [read]
  • Online content regulation: how is it done in other parts of the world? [read]
  • Leave Netflix alone: Regulation and certification of online content [read]
  • 2017: Streaming services censor themselves in India, even though they don’t need to [read]

Self-censorship on OTT platforms

  • 2020
    • In a first, Netflix censors Hollywood film in India, cuts Kashmir from Mission Impossible: Fallout, also removes Indian map from Street Food: Asia [read]
    • Netflix censors Vikings in India, blurs nudity and meat [read]
    • ZEE5 suspends release of show after religious outrage [read]
    • ALT Balaji and ZEE5 censor web series after public backlash [read]
    • Hotstar blocks PM Modi-centric episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver [read]
  • 2019
    • In act of self-censorship, Amazon Prime deletes episode of CBS show Madam Secretary which deals with Hindu nationalism and Kashmir [read]
    • Hotstar takes down Koffee with Karan episode featuring Hardik Pandya and KL Rahul [read]
    • Netflix warns Hasan Minhaj to not use a version of the Kashmir map that the Indian government disputes [watch]
    • Netflix reportedly avoids purchasing the film Sexy Durga for political reasons [read]
    • Apple TV+ releases with certain titles censored in India [read]
  • 2018
    • Dirty Picture: Why is Amazon Prime Video in India Self-censoring The Marvelous Mrs Maisel? [read]
  • 2017
    • Netflix releases Angry Indian Goddesses censored in India [read]
      • This censorship was reversed later.
    • Amazon Prime Video Censorship Evolves With an ‘Indian Version’ of American Gods [read]
  • 2016
    • Why is Amazon Playing Uncle-Ji in the Indian Rollout of Prime Video? [read]

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