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Campus Beat

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Censorship in OTT Platform

Divyanshi Srivastava

ByDivyanshi Srivastava

Oct 4, 2020

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Beat. Any issues, including, offense and copyright infringment, can be directly taken up with the author.

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Over the top, (OTT)  platform is quite an influential media service that is streaming online. It’s been four years and this medium is ruling over the hearts and minds of the audiences by overtaking the tasks done by the Television. There are many OTT platforms in India like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot, Alt Balaji, etc. All these online streaming platforms are enjoying their entire freedom of showing their content to the audience as these platforms do not have any regulatory body to have control over the content which is being streamed. 

The most content provided on these platforms is though in violation of various laws of the nation and is under the observation of the Supreme court. So, now the question is that should there be a self- regulatory body or a proper legislative body? Will, it is Justified, or will it hamper the producer’s artistic freedom?

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Government’s say on the issue

Presently, these OTT platforms are under the Ministry of Information and Technology, but it might change soon as the government is thinking to put these OTT platforms under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as hinted by the secretary of Information and Broadcasting. Amit Khare in a media interaction. In his speech he spoke about the regulation that should be put on these OTT platforms, he said during a virtual session during FICCI FRAMES 2020 that, these OTT content should fall under the purview of Information and Broadcasting. He further added that the convergence of ministries is extremely necessary, he also stated that the ministry is working on a “Light touch regulatory regime” and that will bring all the sectors like, television, print, radio, films digital media under one that is media and entertainment industry.

In fact, In 2016, an NGO named Justice for Rights filed a petition against Hostar and other OTT platforms for showing some unregulated, uncensored, vulgar soft pornographic content which is not legal in the country, also the NGO urged the court to censor the content shown and restrict the content which is not acceptable legally. The producers of the shows on the OTT do not accept this as they find it as a violation of their freedom of expression.

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Why Censorship on these platforms is necessary?

The censorship in these series is necessary because of the content which been shown in it, as it already mentioned above, the content shown is extremely vulgar, anti-nationalist, unethical. The content shown on these platforms should be monitored as all series shown on them highly affects the minds of the people, especially the younger generations as easily accessible to everyone. They might start relating all this with reality which might create a negative environment. There are examples of many such series streaming on various platforms. 

 One of them is Paatal Lok which is produced by actress Anushka Sharma, which is streaming on Hostar. The series has earned good reviews but at the same time got under controversy because of the kind of violence shown. Depiction of brutal killings, bullying of Dalits, and gang rape of Dalit women by upper-caste men, the hypocrisy of a Brahman politician, and criticism of the current government was not liked by a lot many of viewers. This show was considered to be Hinduphobic and many demanded its ban on the OTT platform.

Another example is series namely, Sacred Games, which is streaming on Netflix, both the seasons of this series were under controversy. The first one was because of the derogatory portrayal of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his son Rahul Gandhi, also the second season is under controversy for hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus and Sikhs. Similarly, another series on Zee 5 named, Abhay 2, this too was under controversy for the wrong portrayal of an Army officer. There are various such examples like Indian Matchmaking, Krishna and his Leela, etc., Content on these series is proof that why censorship is necessary.

Conclusion

Looking at the current situation, In my view, I would say that there is a need for an independent regulatory body. All these OTT platforms should work together with the Government to end this issue. Some rules should be made in such a way that it may not hurt the sentiments of the groups, keeping in mind the needs and interest of the viewers.

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