Not long ago, the Indian government officially announced the entry into force of a new law aimed at combating smoking in the country. This now ensures that all streaming companies distributing programs in the country display a health warning when one or more scenes contain tobacco shopping. The prevention message must be at least 50 seconds long and played at the beginning and middle of the program. In addition to this, static messages reminding of the dangers of smoking need to be included throughout the scene at the bottom of the screen when actors are smoking.
The large Indian conglomerate representing Disney, Amazon and Netflix officially announced that these initiatives would not be enforced. In addition to infringing on creators’ freedom of expression, the industry giants explained in a letter that the new law would force a reboot of editing of millions of hours of content distributed in India.
Until now, the consumption of alcohol and tobacco has been very strictly controlled in the country, both in cinemas and on television. With this new measure, the government hopes to fill the legal gap that exists in terms of streaming media.
According to the latest available data, India has about 267 million smokers, the highest smoking rate in the world, second only to China.