OTT content must be screened, they show ‘even pornographic materials’: SC

The apex court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to provide details of the government’s recent guidelines to regulate social media platforms

SC
The Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation comes after a 22-month-long stalemate over a decision, due to a lack of consensus among the five senior-most judges on the names.

At a time when the Centre wants OTT (over the top) service providers like Netflix, Amazon to follow the principle of self-regulation, the Supreme Court (SC) said on Thursday (March 4) that screening of video content should be done because these days “even pornographic material is being shown” on some of the platforms.

The apex court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to provide detailed information about the government’s recent guidelines to regulate social media platforms.

“Now watching movies on internet and OTT has become common. We are of the view there must be some screening,” justice Ashok Bhushan said while hearing the anticipatory bail plea of India head of Amazon Aparna Purohit, who has challenged the Allahabad High Court’s order against the web series Tandav.

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“A balance has to be struck as some OTT platforms are also showing pornographic materials on their platforms,” the SC observed.

Senior lawyer Mukul Rohatgi, representing Purohit, sought bail for her saying she is just an employee and not the producer of the series Tandav.

Also read: New rules for social media, OTTs; govt can seek details of message ‘originator’

The Allahabad High Court had made very strong observations on the content of Tandav. “Such people make the revered figures of the religion of majority community source of earning money in a most brazen manner taking benefit of the liberal and tolerant tradition of the country.”

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The Uttar Pradesh police had filed an FIR against the top Amazon Prime executive for the derogatory depiction of Hindu deities and promoting religious enmity through the series.

Tandav stars Saif Ali Khan, Dimple Kapadia and Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub. It was launched on Amazon Prime in January and has been in the eye of a storm since then.

The Supreme Court will hear the matter again on March 5 (Friday).

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