Self-censorship, in any case, is done out of fear or deference to the sensibilities/preferences of the party or coalition in power, thereby denying both content-generators and viewers the freedom of expression.
Leading online curated content providers (OCCPs), including Netflix, Hotstar, Voot, Arre, SonyLIV and ALT Balaji, have come up with a self-regulatory code (Code) to regulate video-streaming content. The same gives viewers an option for redressal as well.
According to the Code, “content which deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag” or represents children or any part of their body for primarily sexual purposes or which “deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community” or which “deliberately and maliciously promotes or encourages terrorism and other forms of violence against the State (of India) or its institutions” or that has been “banned for exhibition or distribution by online video service under applicable laws or by any court with competent jurisdiction” will be censored.
In the present instant, the width of interpretation the conditions allow poses a big problem. Self-censorship, in any case, is done out of fear or deference to the sensibilities/preferences of the party or coalition in power, thereby denying both content-generators and viewers the freedom of expression. It isn’t hard to imagine a Netflix refusing to allow streaming of Qaum de Heere under a Congress regime or refusing to stream a Parzania or Firaaq under a BJP regime. If OTT players rely upon the maturity of viewers in foreign jurisdictions to show controversial content, why should they believe their Indian subscribers lack the same?