Contemplating measures to regulate OTT platforms, Centre tells SC

CJI-led bench seeks to know from govt how it plans to regulate platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video

Contemplating measures to regulate OTT platforms, Centre tells SC

The government had earlier told the court in the Sudarshan News case that there was a need to regulate digital media in India. iStock

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 16

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it was contemplating certain measures to regulate Over the Top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Acting on a PIL seeking OTT regulation by an autonomous body, a Bench led by Chief Justice SA Bobde asked the government to spell out its stand in six weeks even as Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj said the government was contemplating measures on the issue.

The top court had on October 15 last issued notice to the Centre on a PIL seeking setting up of an autonomous body to regulate OTT platforms which provide paid film and television content to consumers via a high-speed Internet connection.

It had asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Internet and Mobile Association of India to respond to the PIL filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha.

The government had earlier told the court in the Sudarshan News case that there was a need to regulate digital media in India.

Jha wanted the top court to direct the Government to set up a body for monitoring of content on different OTT/streaming and digital media platforms.

“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,” Jha submitted.

He pointed out that there was no law or autonomous body governing the digital content to monitor and manage the content available to the public at large without any filter.

None of the OTT/Streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Hotstar have signed the self-regulation provided by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since February 2020, the petitioner contended.

“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 petition read.

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