Netflix joins local rivals in signing self regulatory code in India | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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Netflix has joined India’s leading streaming platforms in signing a code of conduct and self regulation for online content in the country.

Sacred Games Netflix 18 Jan 2018The voluntary code, which covers sexual and religious issues, has also been endorsed by rival platforms Hotstar, Viacom’s Voot, Zee5, SonyLiv, Eros Now, AltBalaji, and Arre.

Amazon Prime Video, however, is still “assessing the situation” adding that it believes “current laws are adequate to fulfil this mission”.

The code is seen as a pre-emptive move against stricter regulation in India’s online content market, to demonstrate collective responsibility by the over-the-top (OTT) players.

Netflix is currently the subject of a lawsuit for the portrayal of former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in its original series Sacred Games, based on the novel by Vikram Chandra.

Industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) will oversee the new code, saying “to avoid any unilateral regulation governing digital entertainment content, it is important for all [online video platforms] to debate this issue and create solutions from within”.

OTT content is not currently included in India’s censorship rules, which are dispensed by the Central Board of Film Certification.

Signatories to the code agree to prohibit content representing children in any sexual way; disrespecting the national emblem or national flag; and to avoid content that “deliberately and maliciously intends to outrage religious sentiments of any class, section or community” or that that encourages terrorism or other forms of violence against India.

“The self regulation code is a set of guiding principles for participating companies like us. It ensures an environment that protects the artistic vision of content producers so that their work can be seen by their fans. The code also empowers consumers to make viewing choices that are right for them and their families,” said Netflix .

India’s online video audience reached 225 million in 2018, and is forecast by analysts at KPMG to soar over the next five years to 550 million.