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SC Issues Notice To Centre To Regulate Content On OTT Platforms

Mumbai: The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Centre on a petition to set up an autonomous body to monitor and filter content on OTT platforms.

The petitioners claimed that OTT platforms are misusing their freedom of speech and artistic freedom due to a lack of censorship. The bench has sought a response from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

A bench of Chief Justice S Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramaniam sought a response from the Union government’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in a PIL jointly filed by two advocates, Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia.

He claimed over 40 OTTs (over the top) and video streaming platforms that provide paid, ad-inclusive and free content guaranteed freedom of speech and expression under the constitution.

“No censorship allows creative freedom to be exploited and pushed to include more ideas which in turn allows writers, directors, and producers to experiment infinitely which leads to more violence, sex scenes, pornographic language and here even the characters have to smoke. Screens – which would usually be cut or displayed with health warnings, “his petition states.

“With no monitoring body, the language of the material has become more colloquial. The visuals and dialogues are brutal and more barbaric,” he claimed.

The petitioners further stated that the Internet and Mobile Association of India announced the formation of its Digital Content Complaints Council to address government and user complaints related to content on streaming platforms.

The petitioners said that the Ministry of Defense had recently written a letter to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), urging the production house to get NOC before any film, documentary, or web series on Army theme in the public domain.

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