Indian court order ‘freezes free speech’

An Indian court’s decision to stall the release of a Netflix Inc series on four Indian tycoons facing fraud allegations “freezes free speech” and hurts the company financially, the US streaming giant has argued in a court filing seen by Reuters.

Bad Boy Billionaires is a documentary series about liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya, Sahara group’s Subrata Roy, Indian IT executive Ramalinga Raju and jeweller Nirav Modi. Netflix put the show on hold

this month on order of a state court where Sahara alleged violation of Roy’s privacy rights.

Roy is currently on bail in a case where he was ordered by court to repay billions of dollars to investors in a scheme which was found to be illegal. Roy denied wrongdoing in the case and has already repaid investors, his counsel said.

Arguing for free speech in an appeal at the High Court of eastern Bihar state, Netflix said the docuseries was an assimilation of information available in the public domain. The filing has not previously been reported.

The pre-publication injunction granted by the court “freezes free speech,” Netflix said in the filing earlier this month, which was reviewed by Reuters. It argued it has a right to free speech “on a matter of public interest”.

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