Centre considering ‘some action’ to regulate streaming platforms

Government tells SC it is considering ‘some action’ to regulate OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime

Lack of legislation governing OTT/streaming platforms is becoming evident with each passing day , the PIL says

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it is considering “some action” to regulate OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The SC was hearing a petition filed by two advocates, Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia, who sought an institution/association for monitoring and management of content on OTT/streaming and digital media platforms.

A bench comprising Chief Justice SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian was initially of the view that the petitioner should approach the government for the remedy. It had asked the government to file its response within six weeks of the PIL being filed seeking OTT regulation by an autonomous body.

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On Tuesday Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the Centre was contemplating some action on the issue of regulating OTT platforms

The Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it is considering “some action” to regulate OTT platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

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The CJI asked Jain what the government was planning to do and asked him to file his response within six weeks, while tagging the matter with the pending petition.

The court had on October 15 last year issued notices to the central government, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India.

“With cinema 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,” the plea said.

“At present, however, there is no law or autonomous body governing the digital content to monitor and manage these digital contents and it is made available to the public at large without any filter or screening,” it said.

“Lack of legislation governing OTT/streaming platforms is becoming evident with each passing day and every new case that is filed on these grounds. 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,” the plea said.

No OTT/streaming platforms, including Netflix and Amazon Prime, had signed the self-regulation provided by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since February 2020, it said.

The ministry had earlier told the court in a separate case that there is a need to regulate digital media and that the court may first appoint a committee of persons as amicus before laying down guidelines with respect to the regulation of hate speech in the media.

With input from PTI

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