Dr Wu Shangyuan, a lecturer and media researcher at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Department of Communications and New Media, said that while censorship may be done by governments with “good intentions”, it is likely to receive a mixture of reactions from the public.
She noted that governments may censor content to protect vulnerable groups from excessively violent or sexualised content, or to “ensure that social norms and values within that society remain strong”.
“It is a move that will be appreciated by some, while for others, it may be viewed as a means to curb their liberties and prevent them from obtaining the same content that may be available to other people based elsewhere,” Dr Wu told CNA.
She added that since audiences are no longer passive receivers of information, they can now actively seek out and discover content online.
“This might result in them turning to other (potentially illegal) streaming sites for uncensored content, especially if the extent of censorship is significant,” she said.
The plan to censor the content on OTT platforms was first shared by the communication ministry’s Director-General of Public Information and Communication Usman Kansong over the weekend.
According to state news agency Antara, Mr Kansong said that the censorship move would ensure justice for the viewers.
“This (issue) must be discussed thoroughly so that questions do not arise (such as): ‘Why are movies shown on Indonesian TV censored?’ Even people smoking are blurred, while movies on OTT are (uncensored),” he reportedly said.
Mr Kansong added that he will gather the relevant stakeholders to discuss the censorship of OTT platforms, including the relevant players, institutions that cooperate with OTT platforms, and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology as well as the Film Censorship Institute.
He said that Indonesia already has rules, including that related to pornography, and added that there are options for censorship or localisation. This means setting age limits or broadcast hours.