Online video streaming platforms may soon display anti-tobacco warnings

Moneycontrol News

Online streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar may soon have to display anti-tobacco warnings during scenes showing the use of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

According to a Livemint report, the Health Ministry had written a letter to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for issuing an advisory to online streaming companies to comply with anti-tobacco rules by displaying a warning.

“While the rules are well implemented in films screened in movie theatres, the films and TV programmes streamed using the internet like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Voot and Hungama among others are ‘not fully compliant’ to these rules,” read the letter.

Under the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (COTPA), rules for streaming tobacco usage scenes in a movie or a TV programme state that such scenes should run anti-tobacco health spots of minimum 30 seconds along with an audio-visual disclaimer on its ill-effects for a minimum of 20 seconds each at the beginning and middle of the programme, the letter further said.

In addition, during a scene displaying the use of tobacco products, the rules mandate showing an anti-tobacco health warning as a prominent static message at the bottom of the screen for the set duration.

Before that step, the makers are required to submit a strong editorial justification to the Central Board of Film Certification explaining the necessity of displaying tobacco products or their usage in the film.

In February, the Union ministry along with the ministry of information and broadcasting had said that they are planning to put in place a mechanism to monitor telecasts that display tobacco products or their use.