Recently reports were going around that Netflix and Amazon Prime Video among other online streaming services were going to go under the hammer of censorship. It was mainly reported with respect to Netflix, how they had agreed to self-regulate content on its streaming platform after a meeting with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry that was held on 25 October. But a Netflix spokesperson has denied any of it being true.

We are glad that it isn’t. Our industry has just stepped into the digital space and is still taking baby steps towards branching out towards this opportunity. It would have been too easy to kill it while it was still in the premature stages. We have just started out with making original content for digital space in India and to clip the wings at such an early stage would do nothing but kill the bird.

Inside Edge was the first show that was produced in India for Amazon Prime and it was a rather “clean” show to say the least. Same goes with BREATHE which is another Prime series. SACRED GAMES was probably the only show, of the handful made for the worldwide audiences from India, that truly belonged to the 18+ category, while the other qualified for a maximum rating of let’s say, PG 13 or 16+ Young Adults.

Other Indian streaming apps like AltBalaji, Zee5, VOOT, etc who have produced some Indian original content have that inbred sense of censorship that they wouldn’t go beyond a certain point with the show and cater to the Indian audiences keeping in mind the sensibilities. But even they are constantly trying to push the envelope and trying to produce shows of the International standards which can help India make a mark here.

There were and infact there are so many filmmakers who are now working on their stories and trying to get them to production for the digital space as it does not have to go under the scrutiny of the censors. Nowhere in the world we have seen anything on the internet or the digital space go under the censor in this way. And not to mention the fact that, if this goes through, people will find illegal ways to watch these shows and people will find other sources to get their source of uncut and uncensored entertainment.

It comes as a relief to know that the reports of Netflix going under the censor were not true. But the media also needs to take care on how they are reporting things and what they are reporting and make sure that whatever is being reported is 100% accurate. Things like these being reported is just going to cause a widespread panic and might affect the other original Indian content that is being produced currently.

If at all, something like this happens in the future, it shouldn’t be a knee jerk reaction. There should be a well researched, well argued and informed decision that needs to be made and in a way that won’t affect the morale and the motivation of the people who are working day and night to bring their art and craft to the subscribers.

By – Amul Vikas Mohan

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