Online streaming portals like Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime will now be subject to the same censorship rules as that of television. The Centre, on November 11, brought online streaming and content providers and news websites under the ambit of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
In a gazette notification dated November 9, the government amended the Allocation of Business Rules and said that "Films and Audio-Visual programmes made available by online content providers" and "News and current affairs content on online platforms” will be brought under the I&B Ministry.
So far, online streaming platforms and content providers have been outside this ambit and hence the rules as framed by the Censor Board do not apply to them as strictly as to their general entertainment television counterparts.
In 2019, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar had said that the government will not take any step that may curb media freedom. He had, however, said that there should be "some kind of regulation" on over-the-top platforms similar to that in place for the print and electronic media.
Online portals are unregulated in India. While the Press Council of India regulates print media in the country, television channels are required to adhere to the Cable Television Networks (Regulations) Act, 1995.