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Amazon issues apology over web series Tandav

Amazon Prime Video issued an apology for the web series Tandav, saying that it “deeply regrets” that viewers considered certain scenes in the series to be objectionable. The show had stirred controversy for allegedly hurting Hindu sentiments. A total of ten first-information-reports and four criminal complaints have been filed across the country, against the show’s makers, in the aftermath of the controversy.

This apology comes after the Allahabad High Court rejected an anticipatory bail plea filed by Amazon Prime Video’s India content head, Aparna Purohit, noting that the web series included scenes that intentionally used names of Hindu deities to convey an “insidious message”.

Hurting Hindu sentiments was “never our intention”, Amazon said in a statement titled “Amazon Prime Video Apologizes”. “The scenes that were objected to were removed or edited when they were brought to our attention,” it said. At issue was a scene in which two college students playing Hindu deities Shiva and Narada on stage mused over the concept of freedom.

“We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologize unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes. Our teams follow company content evaluation processes, which we acknowledge need to be constantly updated to better serve our audiences. We will continue to develop entertaining content with partners, while complying with the laws of India and respecting the diversity of culture and beliefs of our audiences.” — Amazon Prime Video’s apology for the web series Tandav

The show had earlier also ran into trouble with the government, following which the show’s creators had issued an unconditional apology. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry had summoned and demanded an explanation from Amazon Prime Video about certain scenes in the show, and said it had received a large number of complaints against it.

India notifies rules governing Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

On February 25, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology notified the Information Technology Rules, 2021, under which all streaming services will now be required by law to accept complaints from viewers, and on top of the self-regulation system they created to avoid government regulation, they will now be subject to two layers of oversight. The first layer (after individual streaming services’ own grievance officers) will be a self-regulatory organisation (likely the Internet and Mobile Association of India’s Digital Entertainment Committee, or the recently announced IAMAI Secretariat). This layer is required to be headed by a retired high court or Supreme Court justice.

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