Digital streaming platforms including online news portals and video streaming service providers have been considered as torchbearers for the freedom of expression, speech and content so far, but, this situation is going to be reversed now. In an announcement, on November 11, Union Government decides to mediate the ‘Over The Top’ (OTT) platforms, including the audience’s favorite Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and others by bringing it under the ambit of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The gazette notification on Wednesday signed by President Ram Nath Kovind declared the news and soon it turned into a hot topic. This declaration by central govt. will no longer allow the streamers to experience an audio-visual graphics or written content without any strict censorship and unrestrained flow.
OTT platforms have been providing an innovative strategy both for shows production and shows viewership. The series or drama serials have grown from, Saas-Bahu saga to discussing adulthood and its consequences. OTT has though done a very commendable job in bringing such issues on the ground which are either neglected or left unsolved. This proposal by the govt means no more realistic, urban or gross links to the entertainment industry. The move to bring the OTT platforms under the I&B ministry could also mean that these platforms would have to apply for approval of the content they wish to stream. This in itself is likely to give rise to many conflicts as most OTT platforms have content that would otherwise be censored in India.
Mr. Javadekar, head of Ministry of I&B, however, has not formally stated the nature of regulations proposed by the govt. regarding digital news media and OTT platforms. These websites and OTT platforms too are sure to stand up to the criterion which might be harmful for their creativity with the contents. “As responsible content creators, we want to ensure this act not only takes cognizance of the nature of the content being released, but also ensure that we safeguard creativity in this rapidly growing sector,” said Karan Bedi, CEO of India’s fastest growing OTT platform MX Player.
With OTT platforms becoming a new multiplex and cable TV, this announcement might bring a severe threat to both, the quality and quantity of services provided by these go-to entertainment options. Let’s wait and watch if the ensuing results will be merit or a demerit to amoral viewership.