India unveiled a new draft broadcasting law on Friday that extends its reach to streaming giants such as Netflix, Disney, and Amazon. The proposed legislation calls for the establishment of individual Content Evaluation Committees (CECs) and aims to bring about a robust framework for self-regulation in the sector.
India, a key market for streaming services, is poised to witness substantial growth, with the sector projected to reach $7 billion by 2027, according to Media Partners Asia. The increasing popularity of platforms like Netflix and Amazon has not been without controversy, as some online shows featuring top Bollywood stars have faced criticism from lawmakers and the public for scenes deemed vulgar or offensive to religious sentiments.
Anurag Thakur, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, emphasized the significance of the Content Evaluation Committees as a pivotal aspect of the new law. “Setting up Content Evaluation Committees by each broadcaster is among the key innovations in this legislation. It will pave the way for robust self-regulation,” stated Minister Thakur during the announcement.
According to the draft law document, which is now open for public consultation for a period of 30 days, every broadcaster or broadcasting network operator is mandated to establish a Content Evaluation Committee. The committee is expected to comprise members from various social groups, ensuring diverse perspectives in the evaluation process.
This move aligns with the government’s efforts to strike a balance between creative freedom and responsible content creation, addressing concerns about content that may be deemed culturally insensitive or offensive. The draft law signifies a proactive step towards fostering a regulatory environment that fosters the growth of the streaming industry while maintaining cultural sensitivities and adhering to community standards.