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NEW DELHI: Today, the Central Government has brought Over The Top (OTT) platforms, or video streaming service providers such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and others, under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The agreement has been signed by President Ram Nath Kovind. Thereafter, online films, digital news and current affairs content now come under the purview of the I&B Ministry headed by Prakash Javadekar.

This move has enabled the government to have control over OTT platforms. In October 2019, the government had indicated that it would issue the ‘negative’ list of don’ts for the video streaming services like Netflix and Hotstar. The Government had wanted these platforms to come up with a self-regulatory body on the lines of the News Broadcasters Standard Authority. Reportedly, in January 2019, eight video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for content on these platforms.

The code adopted by the OTTs prohibited five types of content. This includes content that deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or national flag, any visual or storyline 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 court. However, the Government had refused to accept this code.

Presently, the Press Council of India regulates the print media, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) represents the news channels, the Advertising Standards Council of India regulates advertising, while the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) monitors films.

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