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Objectionable content of over-the-top (O.T.T.) platforms, misusing artistic freedom

The Supreme Court has asked the central government what steps will be taken to curb the objectionable content of over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Alt Balaji. The apex court on Tuesday asked the government to file an affidavit in six weeks.

Adult content, foul language and anti-national ideology are some areas where Indians do not agree with the online curated content.

Out of the concerned, most (25 percent) are worried about the fact that adult content is easily accessible to children.

As many as 63 percent of respondents feel that some kind of censorship or at least a code of conduct approved by the government is the need of the hour.

A three-member bench headed by CJI SA Bobde was hearing a plee seeking regulation of content of the OTT platform. Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj told the bench that the issue was being considered. The bench said, what does it mean the government considering it? Is the law being brought or something? The bench suggested to file an affidavit in six and inform them about their what they are thinking of doing. The petition calls for an autonomous body to monitor OTT content.

Just thinking is not enough: The bench said, merely saying that the government is considering this issue is not enough. To this, Additional Solicitor General Natraj said, "The issue is under consideration, but a final decision has not been taken yet as to what steps will be taken." The bench also asked in its affidavit what steps the government will take.
The abuse of freedom of expression by indiscretion .The petition claims that more than 40 OTT and video streaming platforms are directly abusing the freedom of expression. These include smoking, more violence, sexual scenes, lewd language, which are usually displayed with caution. Their language is uninteresting due to lack of monitoring mechanism, visual and dialogues are obscene.

A notice was issued last year also to the Ministry of Broadcasting.

The petitioners say, there is currently no law or autonomous body that regulates the digital content of any filter or screening. This is misusing artistic freedom. Significantly, the court issued information on the petition related to regulating and monitoring the OTT platform on October 15, 2020
last year.

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