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UK PM Rishi Sunak may introduce law to fine OTT after 'Harry And Meghan' documentary: Report

In response to criticism of the Harry & Meghan documentary's veracity, Rishi Sunak will provide UK's broadcasting watchdog the authority to compete with Netflix for the first time, according to a report. This comes as UK officials prepare to approve a new rule giving Ofcom the authority to levy fines of up to £250,000 on all streaming goliaths.

UK PM Rishi Sunak may introduce law to fine Netflix OTT platform after Harry And Meghan documentary Report gcw
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First Published Dec 19, 2022, 4:50 PM IST

In response to a controversy over the integrity of Netflix's documentary on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the United Kingdom's Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, intends to grant the Office of Communications, also known as Ofcom, the authority to take on Netflix for the first time. This news was reported by the Telegraph. The government plans to enact a new law that would give Ofcom control over all major streaming services and give it the power to levy fines of up to 250,000 pounds (Rs 2.5 crore).

According to the report, this would also enable users to denounce shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other platforms to Ofcom and have them looked into for breaking a new code of conduct. According to The Telegraph, the ideas will be part of the Government's Media Bill, which would also support "distinctively British material." Michelle Donelan, the culture secretary, plans to bring the Bill next year to provide Ofcom a legal foundation for regulating streaming services like Netflix and Apple TV+ that are not located in the UK.

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The report fruther said that the watchdog will be charged with drawing up a new "Video-on-demand Code" that is expected to be similar to the rules laid down for the BBC and other terrestrial broadcasters. 

It follows criticism from a variety of fans who felt misled by the six-part documentary series "Harry & Meghan," which featured the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and was shown over the last two weeks.

The documentary also used a speech given by the late Queen Elizabeth II on her 21st birthday in South Africa, which was "edited in an apparent attempt to underline a quotation about her love of the British Empire," according to the statement. The paper said that if viewers learnt about the late Queen and the Commonwealth for the first time through the programme, they would receive a "appalling and factually wrong" portrayal of them.

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