The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Thursday took cognisance of online outrage after several Twitter users called out the OTT platform for its latest web series Bombay Begums for wrongfully depicting children. The apex child rights body asked Netflix to stop streaming the recently released web series Bombay Begums citing an inappropriate portrayal of children in the web series. The commission has also asked it to submit an action taken report within 24 hours, failing which it said it will be constrained to initiate appropriate legal action.
National child commission headed by @KanoongoPriyank takes cognizance of outrage after @GemsOfBollywood exposed content of #BombayBegums. Commission asks its streaming to be stopped immediately.— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) March 11, 2021
This is big. Do check out our account @GemsOfBollywood to know more pic.twitter.com/oLihC6pllj
The notice issued by the Commission said that “from normalising casual sex by minors, web series are now normalising the use of drugs among children”.
The notice was issued following complaints received by the Commission from two Twitter handles.
A Twitter user who goes by the handle @DeepikaBhardwaj took strong objection to the depiction of children in Netflix’s Bombay Begum web-series. The user protested against the normalisation of minors snorting drugs.
From normalisation of minors indulging in casual sex we now have web series showing minors having Cocaine.— Deepika Narayan Bhardwaj (@DeepikaBhardwaj) March 10, 2021
Screengrab from #BombayBegums where a 13yr old is snorting coke as the party she goes to is all about alcohol, drugs.
Sink it in. pic.twitter.com/RXOyq1GaJS
Another popular Twitter user @GemsOfBollywood, known for exposing the Hindi film industry for Hinduphobic and other problematic content, shared a snippet from the web series where girls are shown taking pictures of their “developed body parts” and send them to a classmate.
In a shameful perversion of Hindu religious scriptures, a Tilakdhari politician is seen reading Bhagwad Geeta to conclude that the paramount dharma of a woman is to satisfy a man’s lust.
Tilakdhari corrupt politician reads Bhagwad Geeta published by @iskcon to conclude that Dharma of woman is to satisfy his lust— Gems of Bollywood (@GemsOfBollywood) March 11, 2021
(We read the same Geeta and found it to be totally opposite)
Bollywood Begums by @alankrita601 streaming on @NetflixIndia pic.twitter.com/FPM2R61opH
Taking cognisance of the abominable content under Section 13(1)(j) of CPCR Act, 2005, the Commission noted that “it is of the view that series with this kind of content will not only pollute the young minds of the children, and may also lead to abuse and exploitation of children in the hands of perpetrators/ offenders(sic)”.
The NCPCR does not allow representing, portraying, or glorifying children in India in such a manner on any media platform/ internet/ OTT platform, the notice further said. The Commission also asked online streaming service Netflix to take additional precaution in hosting any content with respect to children or for children.
The development comes days after the central government framed new rules to hold social media, OTT platforms accountable for the content they host on their respective portals. It also comes days after another web series ‘Taandav’ on Amazon Prime was forced to edit parts of its content following a major controversy. The series was accused of “ridiculing Hindu Gods and Goddesses.”
Proliferation of Hinduphobic, sexually explicit and excessively violent content on OTT platforms
In the last few months, there has been a proliferation of over the top platform services in India. With the coronavirus outbreak forcing people to stay at home and with theatres and other centres for recreational activities locked down, the Indian citizens enthusiastically embraced and devoured the content broadcasted on these platforms. In a bid to cash in on this sudden surge of online consumers, the OTT platforms started aggressively exploring new and unconventional ideas for their web-series.
However, in their attempt to stand out from the rest and attract maximum eyeballs, OTT platforms resorted to peddling despicable content. Anti-Hindu content became a norm as almost all the media streaming services hosted content that portrayed Hinduism in a bad light. Besides Hinduphobia, excessive violence, drugs, nudity and sex also found their way in the movies and web-series hosted on online platforms.