Trade and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday urged the entertainment industry to self-regulate program content on televisions and over-the-top (OTT) platforms, as some of them exceed acceptable standards in the Indian cultural landscape.
He said that some form of self-regulation and some level of decency in the presentation of India, Indian families and Indian culture must be present.
“I believe that some form of self-regulation within the media and entertainment industry is necessary. On the one hand we are talking about our culture, our rich tradition, our heritage, our value systems and on the other hand some of what we see on TV and OTT platforms certainly goes beyond the usually acceptable norms in the Indian cultural landscape,” the Minister said.
He wondered if any of the Indian families use the kind of language that is sometimes reflected in some of these OTT shows.
“I don’t know if it helps sell your product better. I guess not,” Goyal said, adding, “as we welcome modern content…I believe that some form of self-regulation and some levels of decency in the presentation of India, Indian families and Indian culture is something where the captains of this industry should also “play a role.
He said some of this content would never be acceptable when released in a movie, so why would it be acceptable on an OTT platform.
“And then if you don’t self-regulate, there would be a clamor from society that, (then) the government will have to regulate. So I think it’s important that everyone is on board in an effort to make your industry more acceptable and really brings prepositions of value,” he added.
Goyal advised that the messaging of content should not be disconnected from the Indian reality.
“I think it will also help the industry in its engagement with the law and with new ideas,” he said.
This content may be accepted in the international market, but “I believe that at home, certain levels of what is acceptable should be the norm, not the exception,” the minister said.
Talking about the growth of the industry, the trade minister said there is a lot of potential there.
He expressed concern about India’s share (less than 1%) in the global media and entertainment market.
He said industry and government should work together to stimulate the growth of the sector.
The government, he said, would work to simplify processes to facilitate filming at different locations such as monuments and beaches in India.
He also asked the industry to provide a minimum wage, health care protection and some sort of social security coverage to help staff improve their quality of life.
Further on the online gambling industry, Goyal said there are some areas of concern there, such as “to what extent and how much, we would like to have gambling” in this country.
“Are we willing and happy for the next generation to be completely seduced by betting or by engaging with money on the various gaming platforms? This is another issue that requires careful thought,” he said.
The Minister suggested that industry experts suggest ways to ensure this does not lead to addiction or mess up society.
The Minister was speaking here at CII’s Big Picture Summit.
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