National

Centre to issue ‘negative’ list to streaming sites

In January, eight video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for the content on these platforms./ Photo for representation   | Photo Credit: AP

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is likely to issue a “negative” list of don’ts for video streaming services or Over-The-Top platforms like Netflix and Hotstar by the end of this year. The ministry is also nudging the platforms to come up with a self-regulatory body on the lines of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.

In January, eight video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for the content on these platforms. The move was to pre-empt any attempt by the government to impose censorship.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, soon after taking over the portfolio, had suggested that his ministry would organise nationwide consultations on the issue of streamlining the content on these portals. The first of these consultations was held in Mumbai on October 12, which was attended by 18 companies including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee 5 and Reliance Jio. Another session is planned in Chennai. The concluding session is set to be held in Delhi in the second week of November.

“We are not attempting censorship,” a top official of Information and Broadcasting ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We will only be issuing a negative list, few non-negotiables that will be prohibited. This will be basic things like ensuring that the Indian map is depicted correctly, to ensure that women are not depicted in a denigrating manner,” the official added. The ministry said that the list would in no way curtail the freedom of expression or stop the content makers from criticising the government.

Recently, the RSS had objected to certain dialogues decrying the oppression of Kashmiris in Amazon Prime’s show Family Man starring Manoj Bajpayee.

“We would like the OTTs to come up with a self-regulatory body drawing members from among themselves like the News Broadcasting Standards Authority; the body will not be expected to do any pre-censorship of the content,” the top official added.

The code adopted by the OTTs in January prohibited five types of content. This includes content which deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag, anything visual or a story line that promotes child pornography, any content that “maliciously” intends to outrage religious sentiments, content that “deliberately and maliciously” promotes or encourages terrorism and lastly any content that has been banned for exhibition or distribution by law or a Court.

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Printable version | Nov 23, 2020 4:38:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-to-issue-negative-list-to-streaming-sites/article29711622.ece

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