Censorship Threat On Netflix, Amazon, Hotstar: Supreme Court Issues Notice To Govt Over PIL

Supreme Court Hears Plea Filed by Centre on Regulatory Body for OTT Platforms.
Supreme Court Hears Plea Filed by Centre on Regulatory Body for OTT Platforms.

We have been incessantly covering topics regarding censorship on OTT (Over the Top) platforms, like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar, among others.

Late last month, we informed you of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry not approving the guidelines on the OTT self-regulatory regime, submitted by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Now, the Supreme Court has sought the Centre’s plea on a Public Interest Litigation targeted towards setting an autonomous regulatory body, to regulate the content of OTT platforms, like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

SC Hears Centre Out On Notice Issued 

As per the plea filed by advocates Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia, seeking an official autonomous board, institution, or association for regulating and keeping a hard check on the content provided by different OTT platforms.

An excerpt of this plea is attached below.

“With cinemas theatres unlikely to open anytime soon in the country, OTT/Streaming and different digital media platforms have surely given a way out for filmmakers and artists to release their content without being worried about getting clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board”.

In response to the plea filed by the two advocates, a SC bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian, issued notices to the Centre, MoI&B and IAMAI.

No Supervisory/Regulatory Body for OTT Platforms

Currently, there is not a single law or an autonomous body for monitoring/regulating the content uploaded by digital platforms, which are purely uncensored/unfiltered.

“The Government is facing heat to fill this lacuna with regulations from the public and the Judiciary; still the relevant government departments have not done anything significant to regularise these OTT/Streaming Platforms.”, said the plea.

‘Self-Regulatory Code’ Proposed by the MoI&B

In order to come up with a solution to monitor the content being uploaded by digital media platforms, the MoI&B asked the IAMAI to come up with a well-drafted self-regulatory code for the same.

However, the guidelines proposed by the latter to self-regulate the content was extremely unsatisfying, as reported by the MoI&B.

You can read in detail about it here.

None of the OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Hotstar signed the self-regulation code provided by the MoI&B, since Feb 2020.

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