Extra guidelines for regulation of OTTs by govt unlikely
The government is unlikely to enact new laws regulating objectionable content such as pornography on over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, etc., as it believes the existing laws contain clauses on treatment such cases included. Sources said while a final decision has not been made, it is likely that the center will inform the Supreme Court of the relevant provisions and await further instructions.
Sources told FE that the Information Technology Act – the new guidelines announced on Feb.25, was only part of that act – already includes Sections 67, 67A, and 67B, which address issues related to pornography and profanity, and penalties provide. For example, Section 67 deals with the submission or publication of obscene material; Section 67A prohibits the transmission or publication of sexually explicit acts in electronic form; and Section 67B prohibits child pornography and child caring or exploitation. The penalty in these cases is three to five years, and additional fines can be imposed.
Furthermore, the nudity and gender policy announced on February 25 stipulates that “no content that is prohibited by law at the time of entry into force may be posted or transmitted”.
Government sources believe that it is unlikely that there will be a need to enact new legislation to address these issues when presented to the Supervisory Committee.
As you know, the Supervisory Committee stated on March 5 that the new laws announced by the government on February 25 to regulate content streamed from OTT platforms do not include any pre-screening or tracking clauses Offenders contained. She had therefore asked the government to draw up a new law with stricter and stricter provisions to regulate content on OTT platforms and to submit a copy of the bill for examination.
The remarks and instructions of the Apex court came after the Indian boss of Amazon Prime Video, Aparna Purohit, was protected from arrest in the ongoing investigation against the web series Tandav.
During that hearing, the court had also expressed displeasure with many of the top platforms that stream objectionable content, including pornography, and stressed the need to pre-screen content on OTT platforms due to the presence of pornographic material. The new laws, announced on Feb.25, covering OTTs alongside other social media platforms that the center calls light-touch regulation, require OTTs to break content themselves into five age-based categories, as they currently do is the case in movies and on television. The categories are – U (Universal), U / A 7+ (Years), U / A 13+, U / A 16+ and A (Adults).
If consumers discover that there has been a breach of any of the policies or codes of ethics established for OTTs, they can appeal through a three-tier complaint resolution mechanism with varying degrees of self-regulation.
At the first level, the complaint would be handled by the publishers / owners of these companies.
At the second level, there would be a self-regulatory body of publishers / owners headed by a retired Supreme Court or Supreme Court judge or a significant person from the domain. If these two levels do not address the grievances in a satisfactory manner, the matter is examined by an oversight mechanism that includes an interdepartmental government body.
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