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SC seeks Centre’s response on regulating OTT platforms

A PIL has urged for an autonomous body to monitor content across digital media platforms

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KOLKATA: It seems that when it comes to self-regulation, OTTs have a tough long road ahead, as the supreme court has sought the centre's response on a public interest litigation (PIL) for regulating these platforms by an autonomous body.

According to a PTI report, a bench of the apex court comprising chief justice S A Bobde and Justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian has issued notices to the central government, the ministry o information and broadcasting (MIB) and internet and mobile association of India (IAMAI) on the possibility of setting up a proper body for monitoring and management of content across OTT and digital media platforms.

The plea was filed by advocates Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia. The petitioners have requested the court to order the government to constitute an autonomous body to monitor and regulate online video content. The petition added that the board should be headed by an IAS officer and have members from various fields.

 “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 the 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 stated.

The PIL has claimed that lack of legislation governing those platforms is turning out to be more prominent with several incidents.    

 According to the petitioners: “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.”

None of the OTT/streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Disney+Hotstar have signed the self-regulation provided by MIB since February 2020, the plea said.

However, the government recently stated it is not under the process of framing laws for these platforms. It added that the matter may be looked into afresh when more clarity emerges in international jurisdictions.

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