New rules by the government have set a "classification rating" to describe the content and advise discretion for viewers of films and other forms of entertainment, including web-based, or Over The Top (OTT), serials that are shown on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+Hotstar.
The adult category will be suitable only for 18 years and above, said the new Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, a copy of which Moneycontrol reviewed.
No one younger than 18 may see an A-category film.
Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have faced a barrage of criticism and complaints in India for allegedly showing "obscene content".
The political drama Tandav shown on Amazon Prime was accused of hurting religious sentiment. An Amazon India executive was summoned and questioned by police in Uttar Pradesh after they received complaints.
Altogether there will be six categories -- U (universal), U/A - General Viewing, U/A - 7+, U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A- Adult category.
As the name suggests while universal will be suitable for all, U/A may
include some scenes which will be unsuitable for children.
Interestingly, even for children, two different categories have been constructed -- U/A-7 and U/A13+.
While for U/A-7 violence may be included but it would need to be rooted in fantasy, or comedy. There should not be explicit images of sex or nudity and any sexual content would need to be limited to affectionate encounters.
U/A13+ on the other hand may have the violence that is more realistic and graphic, but not too gory. Acts of self-harm may be implied, but not depicted in great detail. There may be implied nudity or sexual activity, but not graphic; sexual references and innuendo is acceptable.
For 16 years and above, the program can include violence with more graphic acts, including self-harm and acts of sexual violence, but gore will not be prolonged or excessive. Sexual content and depictions of nudity may be more adult as well, but not graphic. The crude and frequent language will be more acceptable in this category. Drug use on the other hand may be depicted but will not be glamorized or promoted.
The adult category will be allowed to have "strong language" besides graphic details of violence used. The content may also contain strong or mature sex scenes along with nudity.
While the abuse of illegal substances may also be included, it won't be allowed in cases where there's a breach of criminal law.This is a developing story. Please check for updates.