Updated March 14th, 2024 at 22:58 IST

Censorship On OTT: Under What Rules Are Streaming Platforms Content Governed? | Explained

To regulate OTT content, the Centre has published the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

OTT Censorship | Image:X
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The Indian government on March 14 blocked 18 Over-The-Top (OTT) platforms for obscene and vulgar content and, in some instances, pornographic content, after multiple warnings by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur. While several sites like Dreams Films, Voovi, Yessma, and Uncut Adda have been blocked by the centre, other similar platforms like ALTBalaji and Ullu, also showing “soft porn” content, are still active. This has raised queries about the guidelines followed by the government and the framework in place regarding censorship of content on OTT. 

The censorship guidelines for OTT platforms explained

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which aims to crackdown on film piracy and expand age-based certification for films, was passed in the Lok Sabha in August 2023. While the bill introduced new film certifications for theatrical releases, it didn’t issue any censorship mandate for OTT content

 

To regulate OTT services like Amazon Prime, Netflix India, and others, the Centre has issued the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021. There is a self-regulatory mechanism in place on OTT platforms right now.

OTT services offer their content a self-evaluated certification, unlike theatrical releases, and are not governed by the Central Board of Film Certification. Additionally, age-based content ratings for TV series and films must be displayed as the content streams.

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OTT films and series shouldn't display anything that violates Indian law or jeopardises national sovereignty. It is required of Netflix, Prime, Sony Liv, and other platforms to designate an India-based Grievance Officer to handle all complaints realted to their content. 

 

Previously, the issue of censorship for the streaming platforms has been raised in the Rajya Sabha, where MPs demanded a law to bring in censorship for OTT platforms and web channels to pull out obscene scenes and content spreading religious hatred.

(with inputs from PTI)

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Published March 14th, 2024 at 20:50 IST