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Guidelines to be brought in to regulate streaming services, I&B Minister Javadekar says: Report

Guidelines will be brought in to regulate streaming services and digital news, Minister of Information & Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar told reporters on Sunday, ANI reported. The statement is among the clearest indicators that the government is mulling its own regulations for the streaming industry, which has rallied around a self-regulation code that the ministry refused to endorse. In November 2020, Javadekar had said that the streaming industry had “no self-regulation” in spite of the fact that they had signed a code and submitted it to the ministry.

The push to regulate streaming services received a boost after a right wing campaign against the web series Tandav ended with direct ministry intervention, leading to two scenes in the show’s first episode being removed from the show. The ministry’s involvement, combined with its insistence that streaming services adopt more stringent self-regulation, reflects growing pressure on streaming services to censor themselves.

Javadekar generally speaks of regulating OTT streaming platforms in the same breath as online news media, which the government has previously walked back on attempts to regulate. While digital news publishers have previously avoided a regulation attempt, the entertainment industry, which already faces stringent regulation in theatrical exhibition and telecast, may be in a weaker position to resist calls for regulation.

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