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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

India wants Netflix out

Por Olivia Rosario Rodríguez

'Not everything is worth in freedom of expression', that is the new maxim that is defended in India to criticize, and incidentally request censorship, from the successful US network Netflix. Why? Because in the first original production of the platform in India, which is a crude portrait of the political and criminal world of Bombay, the former prime minister is called 'coward'.

Apparently, it is not the first time this happens to Netflix, it is worth noting that it first occurred in Brazil, where former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva criticized the portrait that makes him the series called 'O Mechanism'. After that came the incident in Turkey, when the former mayor of Ankara, Ibrahim Melih Gökçeh, signaled a subliminal message against the regime of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Spanish series 'La casa de papel'.

Now in India, a politician from the country has turned to the judicial system to ask Netflix to eliminate several scenes that it considers offensive, as well as derogatory remarks about former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in the new series 'Sacred Games', which is the first series original of the American platform in India. The case was postponed by the Delhi High Court in order to give a little more time to the judges and the defendants to study the injunction filed by Nikhil Bhalla, a lawyer and current member of the opposition party at the congress.

The series, last on July 6, is an 8-episode thriller set in the criminal and political world of Bombay. The scene that has caused the controversy is in which Rajiv Gandhi is described as 'fattu', a word of Hindi jargon meaning 'coward'. In the same way, some archival images show the ex-prime minister while a voice-over accuses him of weapons corruption.

In the lawsuit, Nikhil Bhalla says that the series has inappropriate dialogues, political attacks and derogatory expressions that damage the reputation of the former prime minister. As mentioned in the text in the name of freedom of expression, not everything is worth it, as this has an impact on society.

This controversy is contextualized in a media landscape in which both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are trying to win subscribers in the Asian country through the production of local original content. Although the censorship of content on the Internet does not exist as such in India, movies and television series are sometimes subject to censorship and criticism by spectators and conservative groups.