Entertainment

Streaming services sign self-regulatory code

The Netflix logo is displayed on an iPhone in Philadelphia. File   | Photo Credit: AP

Preempting any move by the government to impose censorship, eight video streaming services — Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix and Eros Now — have signed an 8-page self-regulatory code that establishes guiding principles for these platforms.

The code has been in the works for over a year now, under the aegis of the Internet and Mobile Association of India.

The code broadly prohibits content that deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag; any visuals or storyline that promote child pornography; any content that “maliciously” intends to outrage religious sentiments; content that “deliberately and maliciously” promotes or encourages terrorism; and lastly, content banned for exhibition or distribution by law or a court.

While some streaming services like Netflix already provide age-curated content, the code wants everyone to classify content into different age groups and have a display content descriptor to inform viewers about the nature of content. All signatories have also agreed, as part of the code, to have a department to deal with complaints from consumers.

The streaming platforms claim that this is not a measure of “self-censorship” and will not curtail artistic freedom in any way. The bar is set high and the creator will not be hemmed in by the code.

The code, a Netflix spokesperson said, ensures an environment that protects the artistic vision of content producers, so that their work can be seen by their fans and, at the same time, consumers are empowered in their viewing choices. “With the growth of entertainment choices today, it has never been a better time to be a creator or consumer of entertainment and we firmly believe there must be the freedom to create and the freedom to choose,” the spokesperson added.

Welcoming the initiative, Kshipra Jatana, Group General Counsel at Network18 Media & Investments, said that the code will help strike the right balance between defending creative freedom and protecting consumer interests. Commenting on the code, Ashok Nambissan, General Counsel, Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited, said that the code will make creators more responsive to their viewers. “It’s worked well for broadcast media and there’s no reason for it to not do so for curated video content. We are happy to be part of this industry initiative,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 22, 2021 2:54:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/streaming-services-sign-code/article26017380.ece

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