The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is thinking of creating its own self-regulation rules for streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the Hindustan Times’s reported on Saturday citing two ministry officials. If it goes forward, the ministry’s move is likely to list out prohibited content on streaming services, something it complains the streaming services have not done.
We have reached out to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which is representing the streaming services to the ministry, for comment. In September 2020, the ministry refused to support the industry’s self-regulation code, saying it was much weaker than a previous code that created an independent complaints authority called the Digital Content Complaints Committee, headed by a retired high court justice. That previous code had less support from the streaming industry, which rallied around the later code with near industry-wide consensus, at least as far as the large curated content platforms were concerned.
After that refusal, IAMAI tried to reach middle ground with the ministry, writing in an email obtained by MediaNama (that has not been reported previously) about its plan for an “implementation toolkit” that would contain a list of prohibitions, and resources for members to implement self-regulation well. However, per Hindustan Times, the I&B Ministry continues to have reservations with the IAMAI’s proposal, and seems to want to take the lead in the rule making.
The ministry has also reportedly summoned Amazon Prime Video over complaints, amplified by right wing figures on social media, that the show disrespects Hindu gods.