India’s censorship laws and online streaming


Censorship laws under the Cinematograph Act, 1952, and Cinematograph Rules, 1983, govern the public exhibition of films, and the Programme and Advertising Code prescribed under the Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, governs the broadcast of films on television. Certain laws such as the Indian Penal Code deal with the distribution of obscene content or crimes such as sedition, and it may be applicable to these popular online streaming platforms. However, there isn’t a specific law or regulation governing the censorship of content available on online streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Among the various options to regulate content on these online platforms, the government is exploring a self-regulation code that will govern content without government interference, or a monitored code that may require prior approval of the government before placing content on the platform. It remains to be seen whether these regulations will be aligned with existing censorship regulations, and whether they will be able to retain creative liberties, in light of the subjective standards of morality.

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