Netflix and Amazon laws
In 2017, the revenue from over-the-top (OTT) platforms in India was 21 billion rupees; it grew a tremendous amount to 35 billion rupees in 2019, and further India witnessed a 30% rise in the number of paid subscribers, from 22.2 million to 29 million by July 2020. Netflix stopped their free 1 month subscription scheme when they realized that the lockdown would increase their revenue significantly.
OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+Hotstar, SonyLIV, Alt Balaji etc. get subscribers to pay them a monthly or yearly fee to view their content. Due to the pandemic and lockdown, the demand of watching movies in theatres was affected drastically and OTT platforms were preferred by the public. Prime Video and Netflix started buying new movies as per demand and their user growth increased immensely. Earlier, there was no governing body or rules on what was to be published online. There was not much emphasis because many Indians were unaware of OTT platforms. They were only aware of television and cinema theatres.
Earlier, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), was the representative body of OTT platforms in India. The IAMAI suggested that the OTT platforms follow self-regulatory voluntary censorship model, “Code for Self-Regulation of Online Curated Content Providers.”
The TANDAV case
Amazon Prime Video’s creative head of Indian Originals, Aparna Purohit was not granted anticipatory bail by the Allahabad High Court because she had acted irresponsibly while creating “Tandav”, a web series. There were scenes in the web series that depicted Hindu gods and goddesses in a bad light and affecting the image of the police of Uttar Pradesh. The Supreme Court granted Aparna Purohit interim protection from arrest.
Ekta Kapoor Case
An FIR was filed against producer Ekta Kapoor for her web series XXX. There were allegations against the web series that it tarnished the national emblem, and demotivated army personnel because the series was based on how wives of army personnel were cheating on the husbands while they were serving at places away from home.
Since the content shown on OTT platforms did not require a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification, a body was required to oversee the content displayed on OTT platforms. The Government of India empowered the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to govern the OTT platforms. Before this, OTT platforms used to be governed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. While freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed as a fundamental right in the Indian Constitution, there are some reasonable restrictions.
While publishing things on the internet, content creators have the liberty to think outside the box and do not have to worry about their ideas being censored. This liberty is being curtailed when the government interferes with OTT platforms. Monitoring online content will also be a tedious task for authorities. The way ministers or the lawmakers think may not be the same way the audience and those who write the plots of the content that is published on OTT platforms think. There might be misinterpretations and excess censorship will affect the plots of stories and eventually decrease the revenue of OTT platforms while restraining the creators from creating new, visually pleasing and groundbreaking stories.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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