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The dawn of a new Entertainment Industry

The concept of online video streaming platforms is not new to India anymore all the process of digitization has been exasperated in 2020 with the internet taking up the responsibility of facilitating a huge share of our interpersonal interactions. When people feel like reading the news and getting aware of what is happening around them, they turn towards their phones and scroll through digital news media platforms. When people feel bored with their monotonous daily life schedules, they turn towards video streaming platforms such as Netflix or Amazon Prime to watch their favourite movie or show. But this could not have been all good and fair for too long, could it?
The Indian entertainment industry has seen a new phase uncover with online streaming gaining traction among the masses. People now have choices beyond the domestic boundaries of their country in the comfort of their favourite coloured couch in their own drawing-room. The new spectrum of media- Anybody can post content and anybody can view content. And as this is appreciated by many, it is refuted by many as well, including the government.
The recent wave of regulation and criminalization of content and creative approach towards entertainment haunts the original creators and the entertainment industry in general which has been fledgeling to safeguard its freedom. It is not the first time that the industry has taken up arms and ammunition to fight against the attackers of its creative freedom on multiple fronts. All the recent conversations in this regard have been centring around the new Information Technology (IT) rules 2021 released by the government on February 25 2021. The real hunters of creative content are the same people who view it.
People have been trying to censor online video streaming platforms as per their own beliefs and faiths by petitioning the courts for a long time, making the sheer volume of these cases stand at staggering levels. On the issue of online video streaming regulation, the high court’s witnessed at least 23 petitions ranging from wounded religious sentiments to moral outrage. From the scene of a Muslim boy kissing a Hindu girl in a temple to depictions of saints in a different way, the platforms have attracted criticisms and calls for boycotts. The common thread uniting the petitioners is the desire to control what people in their own family watch and what other citizens watch in the privacy of their own homes. Public interest litigation or PIL was originally a constitutional right given to the citizens of the country to safeguard their fundamental rights that is now being used as a weapon to attack creators of artistic expression under the veil of social, cultural and religious values.
Interestingly, the story doesn’t end here. The petitions against the creators were not enough to satisfy the controlling vulnerability of self-appointed defenders of societal beliefs. Criminal proceedings have been initiated against the people working in these companies. Employees in companies like Netflix and Amazon are going through all this just because a group of people is furious for reasons ranging from the offensive portrayal of a Hindu deity to the kiss between an inter-caste couple against the backdrop of a temple.
I am not saying that people raising their voice when they feel something is offensive is wrong, but, just that our country and our men and women need to be a little more open about the content they feed on. Taking everything personally shall not be beneficial for both parties in the longer run. And even if still somebody feels offended, they have complete right to file a complaint against it. Just make sure that your complaint about one particular incident does not end up hammering the entire industry or even cause substantial harassment or threat to the personal liberty of the creator or company executives.
Therefore, I would like to end this piece by saying that every coin has two sides and all we need to do is balance both. The information technology rules 2021 might be a good way to hinder the battleground between the two parties, it is our responsibility as viewers and creators of the content to use it responsibly and to be accountable for every step that we take. Expressing our concerns in the right way, legally and socially, shall be the biggest victory in this new era of digital entertainment.

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