Readily available web content raises concerns

Muscat - 

With an affordable price of only RO3 per month, Netflix is gaining ground ever since it made its debut in the sultanate. With (both original, TV series and movies) ad free streaming, Netflix shows have been very popular among viewers of diverse age groups. 

However, the challenge lies in censoring the content that is sometimes overloaded with explicit scenes and expletives.

Tariq al Barwani, an IT expert said, “I agree that there are shows that have content which are not apt for children and families. The best suggestion can be that an individual, community or nations negotiate with the brand so that Netflix can customise and does not play certain series and movies as per the region. It is tough to censor the content, and doing so always gives rise to piracy.”

He added that American media-services provider certainly poses unique challenges to the authority, but so does YouTube and all other Internet video platforms.

“In theory, these platforms are not regulated, but because they are run for profit, platforms such as Netflix do certainly care about the extent to which they comply with local laws, since an easy way to deal with them if they do publish content that violates our laws to an unreasonable degree is to block their access domestically,” said Barwani.

Though Netflix has option for children as one logs in with a user name and password, it is easy to switch accounts as the password is common.

One ardent user of Netflix, Khalfan al Mahrazy, president of Knowledge Oman said, “I am a big fan of Netflix and have watched several crime and family drama series. I even watched Spartacus even before the series was available on web. With parental control one can regulate the content that children or young adults are watching.”

Riyadh al Balushi, another IT analyst, said, “I think that the Omani authorities have matured a lot in recent years, and we have become more tolerant and more reasonable about our expectations of what we can and cannot control. Netflix, like many other platforms and technologies, has parental controls and other settings to ensure that children and other vulnerable users do not view inappropriate content. It is the duty of parents, not the government, to make sure that their children are not left unattended watching Netflix or using any other Internet connected service without any checks.”

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