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After Amazon, Netflix said to have agreed to censor its content in India

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Netflix has riled some sections in India with explicit violence & sex. But the firm says it has not agreed to censor its content.

New Delhi: The highly awaited next season of Sacred Games may not be as sexually explicit as the last one.

Netflix, a streaming service celebrated by lakhs of Indian viewers for giving them access to uncensored content, has agreed to self-regulation, ThePrint has learnt from two reliable government sources.

The “compromise” was struck during a meeting held on 25 October between Netflix and the ministry of information and broadcasting, along with other participants.

According to the sources, both Netflix and Hotstar agreed to adopt the “best practices internationally” and come up with a set of guidelines to self-regulate the content they broadcast.

Netflix will also provide the ministry a note on the guidelines.

“Yes, there was discussion of self-regulation and Netflix and Hotstar agreed that they should regulate their content,” one of the two sources, a top ministry official who did not want to be named, told ThePrint.

Representatives of 21st Century Fox, Intel Sat, AFNT India, Intel India, Google, Star TV India, Apple, and the US-India Business Council were also present at the meeting, it is learnt.

Netflix, however, denied making such a commitment.

“The information quoted is inaccurate and entirely false. Netflix was never in this meeting,” a statement from Netflix said.

While both television and film content is regulated in India, over-the-top (OTT) services like Hotstar and Netflix, being relatively new, have been free of any such control so far.

Many viewers celebrated this lack of regulation as a big win for their right to uncensored content – Indian television is notorious for arbitrary beeps and cuts, with any mention of sex and profanity muted and, at times, the slightest hint of cleavage blurred.

Even so, there have also been concerns about the explicitly violent and sexual content of some of the offerings on streaming services.

Also read: With Sacred Games, Bollywood finds a new home for its politics in Netflix

Petitions against Netflix

In 2016, the ministry of information and broadcasting had said it would not censor online content.

In October, a Delhi-based NGO called Justice for Rights filed a petition in the Delhi High Court to remove “vulgar and explicit” content from streaming services. The streaming platforms, it alleged, offered “vulgar, sexually explicit, pornographic, profane, virulent, religiously forbidden and morally unethical content” to attract more subscribers and increase profit.

Earlier the same month, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court asked the Centre for a response on another plea seeking to regulate online shows.

Amazon Prime Video, another popular OTT service that came to India in 2016, took the self-censorship route while venturing into the domestic market. Frontal nudity, politically or religiously sensitive content, and vulgar language become some of the obvious targets of self-censorship.

For example, one of the episodes of the motoring show called The Grand Tour is listed as only 30 minutes long on Amazon Prime, while the original is actually one hour. The half-an-hour difference is the sum of cuts made to remove all references to a car made of meat.

Also read: Nudity is liberating, no regrets about bold scenes: Rajshri Deshpande of ‘Sacred Games’

This report has been updated with statement from Netflix.

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  1. The Article’s published comment from NETFLIX already contradict this whole web of lies you are spinning. Stop practicing this GARBAGE TIER JOURNALISM designed to mislead people.

  2. We try to give best of education,teach manners, & surely avoid bad language in front of our children & in india specially which is known to be cultured country.
    Finally parents pay for NETFLIX every month where all the bad words, sex, is openly shown n heard Wow
    Where is india and our culture going.
    You think any parent can sit with their children and watch NETFLIX comfortably.
    What are we showing to kids.

  3. It’s a fight between majority conservative versus the minority progressive people of the nation.
    the people who want to morally correct each individual by their own thoughts versus the free folk who adores the western ideals of democracy & a free society.
    Let’s see which process of thought prevails, the accepting one or the rejecting one.

  4. When will the censorious goons stop? Suppressing and disallowing more and more content only leads backwards. When will the Human Rights Charter Signatory India Stop Regulating Speech and Expression. Moral busybodies and Authoritarians will trash this wonderful nation.

  5. Guess I’ll unsubscribe from Netflix and get a VPN subscription so I can watch Netflix uncensored from torrents.
    I guess VPNs are the only choice left now, since the government went after porn first and then TV.

  6. To all good for nothing dumb people and dumb government, please suppress all those explicit contents of rapes and violations happening in our country from the very beginning itself when no explicit contents were shown in media or television. Where we are leading to? Nobody is ever seem so bothered about the degrading situation of the nation itself. Man must change with time, otherwise you cannot survive if you are unable to adapt with time and changing world. Manipulating the Internet, television or media will not going to effect or change anything. Because time moves forward, not backward. You can’t bend it. The sooner one learns the better.

  7. Nice move from government, well appreciated and thanks to talking a step ahead.

    Public content should be regulated. Thank You

  8. India is a strange country. I am 43 years old. I was first sexually assaulted at the age of 12.

    Since then, I have been sexually assaulted and harassed hundreds of times — on public transport, on the streets, even in the workplace.

    When millions of Indian women face sexual violence, nobody is outraged.

    Yet, a few seconds of nudity on Netflix and our civilisation is under attack

  9. Is there will be any change in our country if they will censor things I m sure not!! Rape will be there just try to change mentality of people of country not content of every uncensored contents!!!

  10. There we go again. Sensorship by the government. Controlling every aspect of our lives. Good job. What the hell is religiously forbidden? Get a grip on reality people, religion is nothing but mass control and a business that takes advantage of gullible people.

  11. In the name of culture that no ones sure of what it is and religion that seperates people based on birth. Lets cut all the shows and make inro song x imcomplete scenes x end credit. Instead of proper sexual education.

  12. These are paid service over the internet. The service provider are not forcing you to watch the content. Parental setting can be enabled if this is really a concern..government should poke there nose on everything. NGO who do not have any good thing to do to get a limelight they complain.

  13. This isn’t gonna stop people from watching all those explicit content. Ever heard of torrent. On the other side, making such ramifications not only provoke more audiences but they also kill the creativity of the writer and the director. Think about it, if it weren’t important for the script would they have included such scenes in the first place. This is only insinuating that either the writers or the directors are making such explicit content only to gain popularity. Now, this may be true for some but not for all. And by the way who is the government protecting here, religion or morality, go out in the streets, it’s much more vulgar than these so call explicit content.

  14. In India everything has to be censored than why does the government always say that
    1.we have to educate our kids about sex,
    2.sex education has to be introduced in every school / colleges,
    3. Education starts from media if not be ready to face crimes against every women

  15. Miles to go before we sleep. Anyway, self-regulation is must, at least in our country. In fact, the generations are suppressed lot. Since the very beginning, take the post-independence. The tenure of reservation is yet being extended. Literacy is not overall up to the mark. Toilet-ads are being circulated. If the government would have solely focused(honestly) on education and made positive efforts in this direction. then it would have been undoubtedly a boon for the people. But most of the efforts are made to enrich and consolidate the vote-bank. In this course, advancing towards the basic functionality is deterred.

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