No plan to censure online content, says government
The union government informed Parliament on Thursday that it has “no plans” to start censoring content in online platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. In a written reply to a Rajya Sabha question, the minister of state for electronics and IT, Sanjay Dhotre, said the ministry has no plans to introduce censorship on the content appearing on online streaming platforms.
“The government is committed to freedom of speech and expression and privacy of its citizens as enshrined in the Constitution of India,” he said.
Dhotre, however, also pointed out that there are enough provisions in the existing legal structure to tackle and remove objectionable content from net.
“Section 69A of the Act empowers Government to block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any Computer Resource in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above,” he said.
The statement adds significance as last month RSS affiliates demanded regulation of content offered on OTT platforms or internet-based streaming services, pointing out that sexually explicit and “unsuitable” content was easily available for viewers under 18 years of age.
Content streamed online through platforms such as Netflix, Hotstar, ZEE5, ALTBalaji, among others, is not vetted by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) or put through any other regulatory checks.